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Feminism 2017

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Mordecai, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. awinarock

    awinarock Alchemist

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    How is it sacrificing the dignity of thousands of female employees if you ignore one employee who happens to expresses a stupid opinion? Did he have a history of harassment or uncooperativeness with female employees? Or was he just some random mook frustrated with the fact that he couldn't openly express himself?

    I guess we just disagree on some fundamental issues. I've always believed that free speech should trump people's feeling and that if a large segment of population didn't collectively flip it's shit after reading the rant of some random Google employee, this whole thing would be a non-issue.


    I agree, but would it have gone viral if people weren't so shocked that some random cog in a multinational corporation held an unpopular opinion and openly voiced it? Also, does the fact that he posted it to an internal forum really make a difference? It could have gone viral just as easily if he's posted it on his public facebook profile and got in trouble because one of his coworkers read it and reported him to HR. Then we'd talking about the right to free speech on social media.
     
  2. Solfege

    Solfege High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    Just a reminder that there is no First Amendment right in the workplace --- government suppression of speech only. Businesses are free to hire and fire on any criteria excepting a few protected classes, namely race, religion, sex, etc.

    As businesses have primarily a fiduciary duty, it is indeed legally proper for the CEO to take steps needed to remove disruptions, whether to workforce productivity (pertaining to morale and cultural integrity) or sales (preferences of the customer base). The arena in which an employee voices his opinion matters insofar as it affects those variables. Opinions, particularly nuanced opinions, that may be appropriate when taken to a small chamber structured to support and make use of it, may be devastatingly inappropriate elsewhere.
     
  3. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Person invites controversy = person gets removed, that's how big companies work. Keep your head down, suck the boss's cock or tits or clit or strap-on or butt plug, and you're just fine. Raise your head in any way- and it doesn't matter if that's done for noble reasons (whistleblowers say hi, especially in the private sector), evil reasons (overt sexual harrassment to the point it cannot be swept under the rug), or something in between like this (and I don't give a shit where on the spectrum you want to place it) - and you receive notice that either your contract won't be renewed or that you're just outright fired.

    Now that the outright leftist cynical bit is over, I'd like to point out that Google likely has some kind of hostile work environment clause in their rules. In addition, they're a 40k employees company with more money than Plutus. The guy wouldn't have been indispensable, meaning that things like public relations start becoming a factor in the whole shebang. Given tech is always under fire for being very male-dominated, they likely did not want the stink associated with him staying, and thus he was fired for creating a hostile work environment. Presumably after consultation with lawyers analysing the odds of needing a 6-7 figure settlement in a possible lawsuit.
     
  4. awinarock

    awinarock Alchemist

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    Solfege Oment I understand, which is why I said in an earlier post that Google had every right to fire him. I just disagree with the law as it's applied and I don't believe it would have been disruptive enough to effect productivity, sales, etc. and merit dismissal if large segments of the population didn't shit their pants any time someone biblically expresses an unpopular, ignorant, or stupid opinion.
     
  5. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    You do realise that large parts of the population shitting their pants at an unpopular/stupid/ignorant opinion covers probably 90 to 95 % of everyone? Including most of us here on DLP? Just sayin'.
     
  6. Solfege

    Solfege High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    Fair enough. I should also observe: Pichai's email stated that a diversity of political views, including conservative/centrist viewpoints, are welcome at Google, and that Damore raised valid points for discussion.

    However, there was demonstrable disruption in productivity. Huge swathes of Google were in a furor for a couple of days, workers threatening to resign --- again, enough for Pichai to recall himself from vacation and for others, like Zunger to be recalled from his new startup to help deal with the aftermath.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  7. awinarock

    awinarock Alchemist

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    I do, but I don't think opinions should make people shit their pants unless they're inciting violence or violation of other people's rights. Call me niave, but I just think that if we all discussed these kinds of things openly instead of reacting so harshly that a man has to lose his job and executives have to be called in to do damage control, we can actually address the underlying issues instead of sweeping them under the table.

    I heard about that and like I said earlier, these things wouldn't have been necessary and the disruption/damage wouldn't be so bad if people didn't react the way they do to these sorts of opinions.

    Edit: Not to mention that this guy wouldn't have become a martyr for the alt-right if he weren't fired.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  8. Solfege

    Solfege High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    Right. That's just an unfortunate but universal fact of life that we all have to be mindful of the times we live in.
     
  9. awinarock

    awinarock Alchemist

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    I know, I just hate it. Oh well, at least these sorts of events lead to fun discussions.
     
  10. Agayek

    Agayek Dark Lord

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    While true, something I feel always gets lost by some parties in these discussions is that "free speech" is a separate concept from the US' First Amendment. "Free speech" is a concept in liberalism about being able to voice opinions and protect the marketplace of ideas.

    It's kinda irrelevant to talk about the First Amendment in this context.
     
  11. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I disagree with the guy's assertion that gender made people bad at their job, even if I agree with the idea of merit-only hiring. I think a better argument for merit hiring is to hire on identity-blind applications; the best candidates would rise to the top, and diversity of race/gender/etc. is likely to happen naturally, provided the applicant base is broad.

    But to get beyond that to this guy being fired, I've thought about it a bunch, and I come down on the side of him not being fired. I get the points about workplace cohesion, etc., but I say he shouldn't have been fired for two reasons:

    1. Google was being disingenuous.
    2. Corporate cowardice.

    Google told its employee that it was open to a civil discussion about its employee's opinion. That employee used that forum to express a...minority viewpoint. That employee was then castigated and run out of town for expressing his opinion in a civil manner that his employer told him was okay.

    Google can't have it both ways. Either it welcomes civil discussion, even when the opinion is not popular, or it doesn't. Either it welcomes diversity of thought, or it doesn't. It sounded like they welcomed diversity of opinion only when that opinion was agreeing with what the majority of its corporate base already agreed with.

    Firing the guy did nothing to quiet the employee, nor did it do anything to substantively argue a counter-argument. All it did was kowtow to the (in my opinion) childish other employees who overreacted to what amounts to objectionable spam mail. It was the epitome of virtue-signalling to the public.

    Google could have put its money where its mouth is. It could have made a strong argument for how it does business and argued that it was right to do it that way, if it believed that. Or Google could have said, maybe you have a point about classes for our employees, even if you don't have a point about women being bad at math or whatever. It could have said, we had this civil discussion, we disagree with you, thanks for speaking up, but that's the end of it. And then the employee could have resigned if he wanted to, or carried on with his life while enduring the glares of coworkers.

    It was cowardice and a PR stunt, pure and simple.

    The only people who won anything from this whole thing are the fringe assholes in our public square. On the one side, the alt-right whackos who got themselves a martyr. On the other, the annoying leftist college-aged social justice censorship jerks who make me wonder why I vote Democrat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  12. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Can I get quotes where he said Gender made people 'bad at their job' or females are 'too stupid' to work at Google?

    I'm not trying to be pedantic or facetious, I'm thinking I maybe skimmed over a bit of text that subtlety implied that. So many people are reporting that now that I'm at a point where either:

    A) Everyone's full of shit/ chinese whispers, or
    B) I missed it.
     
  13. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    My understanding of this in an abridged summary:

    He stated that diversity-encouraging hiring policies were artificially increasing demographic representation at the expense of true-merit hiring. If they got there by skewed hiring, it means they didn't really merit the job, and if they didn't merit the job, then the logical inference is that it's because they don't deserve to be there.
     
  14. Puzzled

    Puzzled Professor

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    I think it might be more charitably phrased that he believes the only way to get true 50/50 parity was to make an outsize effort to recruit more women given his premise that interests between genders differ. This 'required' effort might not be justifiable for a business solely seeking profit since neither men nor women are superior. He went out of his way to state that individual capacity can't be based off population statistics, and that everyone he works with got in fairly.
     
  15. Agayek

    Agayek Dark Lord

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    That's the least generous possible interpretation, and while I'm fairly sure that's how most of the people so outraged by it read it, I don't think it's accurate to what he intended or, really, what he wrote. Especially since he goes out of his way to state, repeatedly, that macro trends among a population have little-to-no bearing on any given individual.

    The way I read it was essentially "you have to put 80% of the energy into recruiting women to reach gender parity, because of these reasons, and it's wasteful and discriminatory".
     
  16. fontisian

    fontisian Fourth Year

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    Samanatha Bee just made a pretty cool piece on women in Iraqi Kurdistan, for anyone interested.
     
  17. disposablehead

    disposablehead Seventh Year

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  18. Solfege

    Solfege High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    To follow up specifically, the way I hear it from a Google friend is: you progress in your career by switching to teams with new project opportunities. Typically every 18-24 months. This only happens if the team's manager feels you can work with all the team members, and the team members are all willing to work with you.

    Seeing as Damore left many people with the impression that he'd virtually insulted 1/3 of the company, and that people were pretty much split 50/50 on whether he should've been fired, the memo had made him virtually unhire-able (so I guess Zunger wasn't kidding on this point). His career at Google was already pretty much over and firing him was merely a formality, if a PR response.

    I suppose they could've kept him on until he got frustrated and left himself.



    The ultimate danger with issues as biological sex differences is that while the data is there, in this instance establishing averaged percentage differences in a few salient traits (bypassing the blank-slate fallacy altogether), interpretation of data is necessarily nuanced and much harder to tease out. Are women more "neurotic" on average because they prefer people to things, and because trying to focus asocially on things is a harder, more stressful task? Or are they more "neurotic" because being in male-dominated environments where they have to validate their achievements at every turn is stressful?

    What of the studies where men exhibit similar personality variability in similar traits, that is, in more hierarchical societies? Presumably now that you've divided the population into a few 'alpha' males and a majority of 'beta' males, there are discernible differences in the spread as betas scramble for limited approval and status; differences which seem to disappear in more egalitarian societies.

    The data isn't definitive on these questions that bypass Damore's trammeling of sex-related causality, although certainly the preferences issue presents its own hypothesis. If we are looking for purely evidence-based conclusions, nor are Haidt's moral five points relevant, except in addressing the separate question of an environment where conservative views are as equally well considered for debate as liberal views. (Is it true that conservatives, being more tradition-bound, are less likely to prefer newfangled fast-moving fields on the whole, and this explains the purported dearth of great technical talent in conservative politics?)

    Returning to the sex-related discussion, is all this moot if Google hasn't diluted their hiring standards for diversity, has merely sought, justifiably, to widen the pool? Paul Graham put it to the immigration argument: if the traits that make an exceptional programmer are universal, then why wouldn't you try to create search functions to specifically scan outside the US, when statistically 95% of exceptional programmers are out there?

    Assuming just the matter of sex preferential differences, if every hire Google makes is of equal or greater ability to their presumably high standards, it would simply, as Lindsey said, be a greater competitive edge to divert women, who may not have been interested but have the ability to join Google's workforce. This article on spatial ability (the largest cognitive sex difference that we know of, strongly linked to prenatal testosterone exposure) demonstrates how practicing spatial visualization significantly improves female retention on certain engineering tracks, compared to a minimal effect on the men. And while men, if they took the course and improved, maintained, on the whole, an edge over the women in spatial visualization, the issue is rather some base threshold of ability and interest over which employable competency is maintained. We might consider that further along lies diminishing returns, especially on the cross-skilled, interdisciplinary tracks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017