The Money Mustache Community

Other => Off Topic => Topic started by: J Boogie on August 07, 2017, 03:40:03 PM

Title: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 07, 2017, 03:40:03 PM
I thought this was pretty interesting.

http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

I find it interesting not necessarily for the thoughts it contains, or the reactions to it, but rather the response it demands of the biggest companies in the US.

Big companies tend to have to walk a fine line, playing it safe (while not appearing to play it safe - every big company wants to be thought of as bold, authentic, and values-driven like Starbucks).  They have to pay at least lip service to the majority  of the population as well as the squeaky wheels.

These days it's a given they have to be inclusive.  Otherwise they won't attract top talent in their big city offices.  Anyone here interested in working for hobby lobby or Chik-fil-a? Probably not.  These companies can get away with their conservative positions/statements because passionate liberals probably don't make up a significant portion of their workforce or customer base.

But now I think we'll be seeing a correction so to speak.  I think independents and moderates are feeling like the left has jumped the shark.   An environment that is inclusive and free of discrimination is universally agreed upon by young urban capable workers, sure - and I think most would recognize it's not a perfect world so you need to police this.  So the question is, has the liberal diversity/feminism rhetoric gone too far (or do a significant amount of people think it has), and if so, how does a big company respond to it? Stay the liberal course, pretending their values are what influences their decisions and not their popularity/bottom line? Dial back their rhetoric unceremoniously?

Companies are not political animals but they do have to have policies.   This guy's memo seems to have had received some good feedback within Google, so obviously he's not on an island.  How big that island is exactly, we don't quite know... probably not big enough to force Google to amend their policies though.  It's not the same to face ideological discrimination as it is to face racial/gender/sexuality based discrimination.  Unless you mention your conservative views in an interview, they have no way of discriminating against you.  So the conservative pain is a much different one - they may not feel free to voice their ideological opinion in the workplace, but there they are, making good money, in the workplace.  Though my views are all across the board, I do think overly leftist agendas have crept into some big companies' policies - and I don't really care enough to do anything about it at this point.




Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ixtap on August 07, 2017, 03:45:38 PM
Can you give some examples of the leftist agenda you have seen?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 07, 2017, 04:10:09 PM
Can you give some examples of the leftist agenda you have seen?

When I say leftist agendas have crept into corporate policy, I don't mean that Google's corporate policy, for example, is a piece of leftist agenda.  But I think leftist agenda has crept in there.  You don't study programming and get hired to create a diversity and inclusion program - you typically come from a women's studies type program where leftist agendas are not uncommon.  You'll see terms like microagression, equity, unconscious bias, etc. and these will makes  Not to say there aren't legitimate issues there to be addressed, but I think you'd agree these are the terms liberals use when advancing their agenda.

I think the big disconnect I have is that I am all for everyone having a truly equal shot and if there aren't as many historically oppressed groups doing X activity then I don't automatically infer that means oppression is to blame.  These programs would be out of business and people would be out of jobs if they reached that conclusion as well, so I can't help but think they're looking for a bit of a dragon to slay when there might not always be one.  I would too if I poured so much energy into making a sweet dragon slaying sword.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ixtap on August 07, 2017, 04:24:31 PM
I asked for an example, not a screed.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: bacchi on August 07, 2017, 04:52:47 PM
I read the "memo" and it reads like a barely average (male) developer with delusions of grandeur thinks he'd be a rock-star at Google if only those women and minorities were not taking all the good jobs.

Quote
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness

Seriously?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: robartsd on August 07, 2017, 05:07:54 PM
I generally agreed with the viewpoint of the original controversial memo's author (though there are a few places I seriosly disagree). I think the response was a typical corporate non-answer crafted to pacify the internal echo chamber the memo's author wanted to bring attention to.

Under "Personality Differences" the original controversial memo says:
Quote
This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and thereís overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a womenís issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
To me this indicates a possible systematic problem should be addressed to reduce the gender pay gap; but the author's context indicates to me that he thinks it is just a "natural and just" disparity.

I read the "memo" and it reads like a barely average (male) developer with delusions of grandeur thinks he'd be a rock-star at Google if only those women and minorities were not taking all the good jobs.

Quote
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness

Seriously?

Yeah, while most of the memo was fairly reasonable, that particular claim has nothing to stand on. I don't even think most conservatives would agree with his assumption.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 07, 2017, 05:21:42 PM
Very little about the memo was "fairly reasonable." The author was trying to advance an agenda that states that a large fraction of his coworkers are biologically ill-suited for their jobs. It reads like "scientific racism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism)" of an earlier day, trying to find a scientific basis for pre-existing prejudices and thereby downplaying the need to work toward greater equality. Nothing about that is reasonable or true, nor is any workplace likely to become better by taking these ideas seriously.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Sailor Sam on August 07, 2017, 06:58:44 PM
What a goddamn moron that little memo writer is. Affirmative action is just so unfairrrrrrrr, and my little life is so harddddd. Wah, wah.

However, J Boogie, your question was about companies, and whether they've adopted too much diversity/feminism rhetoric in an effort to be seen as moral, and use that signal of moral virtue to capture customer's money and loyalty. My response: Sure, I'm absolutely certain that somewhere there is a company that has taken inclusiveness, or gender, or saving the tree frogs to a ridiculous level. But when something spikes to a ridiculous level, it's because someone really cares about the issue. To show they really do care about the issue, right down to their toe hairs, the leader of such a company will place fulfillment of the issue before profit or efficiency.

What Google has done is signal virtue, without actually carrying through on virtuous actions, as their little pay gap embarrassment seems to be indicating. So no, Google has definitely not taken diversity/feminism too far.


I think the big disconnect I have is that I am all for everyone having a truly equal shot and if there aren't as many historically oppressed groups doing X activity then I don't automatically infer that means oppression is to blame.

I'm willing to believe the trouble might not be current oppression, but history shows a damning finger. I work for a govt org that's lily white, and overwhelmingly male. We're desperate for women and brown people to join. D.E.S.P.R.A.T.E. They interview, we accept, they decline. So we ask them very earnestly why they declined. A statistical majority response with the fact that during the (long, multi-exposure) interview, they didn't seem many faces that looked like there's. They declined to spend 20-30 years being walking into meetings and enduring being the only in the room. Only woman. Only black dude. Or, twice damned, the only black woman. Lack of historical acceptance causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership, causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership. A horrible loop, set in motion when oppression was very much to blame.

Edit: terrible speler
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: lost_in_the_endless_aisle on August 07, 2017, 07:41:44 PM

I think the big disconnect I have is that I am all for everyone having a truly equal shot and if there aren't as many historically oppressed groups doing X activity then I don't automatically infer that means oppression is to blame.

I'm willing to believe the trouble might not be current oppression, but history shows a damning finger. I work for a govt org that's lily white, and overwhelmingly male. We're desperate for women and brown people to join. D.E.S.P.R.A.T.E. They interview, we accept, they decline. So we ask them very earnestly why they declined. A statistical majority response with the fact that during the (long, multi-exposure) interview, they didn't seem many faces that looked like there's. They declined to spend 20-30 years being walking into meetings and enduring being the only in the room. Only woman. Only black dude. Or, twice damned, the only black woman. Lack of historical acceptance causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership, causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership. A horrible loop, set in motion when oppression was very much to blame.

Edit: terrible speler
The above all seems to presume the defining quality of a person is their race or gender. Finding issue with the fact someone here doesn't look like me constitutes viewing diversity as a collection of superficial characteristic rather than traits of much greater substance, such as diversity of thought, expression, etc. History might be to blame for the emergence of a "lily white" complexion at your workplace but it's a superficial grasp of diversity that is to blame for job candidates declining positions on the basis of those appearances.

Generally though, the manifesto was not even close to the best version of the arguments it was trying to make.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: golden1 on August 07, 2017, 08:20:58 PM
As a female engineer in a successful company that has a close to 50/50 ratio of female to male engineers, I found that memo laughable at best.  I think that a lot of men, who enjoy the hyper masculine cultures in workplaces that have mostly or all men just flat out resent having to modulate their behavior with women present, which is pretty funny and ironic, since women have been altering their behavior for years in the workplace just to keep their jobs.

I have been on the flip side at my last company where I was the only woman in the room in the vast majority of meetings.  Meetings were intense or even combative, arguments broke out constantly, and you could cut the testosterone with a knife.  I have definitely felt left out despite having equivalent or better experience and education.  Conversations happen and you give an opinion, which is ignored. A man gives the same opinion a week later and gets the praise and credit.  It happens all the time.  I donít even think it is necessarily conscious, but it is problematic.

I understand that some jobs are better suited to different sexes, but there is no fucking legitimate reason an average woman canít code as well as a man.  There is no physical strength requirement.  The main reason women donít make it in coding is not an intellectual limitation, itís culture.  The article itself is steeped in it.  Seriously, if you are a girl who excels in coding, and you read tha5 shit, how are you supposed to feel about pursuing it as a career?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 07, 2017, 08:43:01 PM
I understand that some jobs are better suited to different sexes, but there is no fucking legitimate reason an average woman canít code as well as a man.  There is no physical strength requirement.  The main reason women donít make it in coding is not an intellectual limitation, itís culture.  The article itself is steeped in it.  Seriously, if you are a girl who excels in coding, and you read tha5 shit, how are you supposed to feel about pursuing it as a career?

I find it funny that physical strength is allowed to vary across genders, but for some mysterious magical reason, ability to code can't?

In general, sub-populations of the global population (e.g. races, genders, minorities, or any sub-population) have different properties following different statistical distributions. This is well accepted for physical features like foot length or strength, but for some reason as soon as the property in question is above the neck, people lose their fucking minds. Things like intelligence, earning power, suitability to a given profession all of a sudden must be exactly the same across different sub-populations, which is taken as dogma. Unless there is a reason and strong evidence to the contrary, properties do vary across sub-populations almost all the time, regardless of what you wish were the case, and regardless of whether you can find a nice justification to explain why. I did my PhD in data science and I don't think it's even debatable for anyone with practical experience with large datasets. Seriously, the claim that "all sub-populations must have the same ability to code!" is downright laughable and naive to me.

Now, there may still be unconscious biases in addition to biological differences. Both can exist, and we want to eliminate only the "bias" part, which isn't easy at all to disentangle from the biological part.

It does feel like Paul Graham "What You Can't Say"
http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: scantee on August 07, 2017, 08:46:02 PM
The thing I find most amazing about the memo is that the author apparently thought it was a good idea to 1) use company time to 2) draft a very long conteversial memo on a topic that 3) is out of his area of expertise then 4) distribute it over company channels to 5) a very broad audience. From what I read of the author he's pretty young and in the first few years of his career, but still, that is some mind-bendingly stupid shit to do. No one at work cares about your opinions on HR policy, dude. Stay in your lane..
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Sailor Sam on August 07, 2017, 08:51:57 PM

I think the big disconnect I have is that I am all for everyone having a truly equal shot and if there aren't as many historically oppressed groups doing X activity then I don't automatically infer that means oppression is to blame.

I'm willing to believe the trouble might not be current oppression, but history shows a damning finger. I work for a govt org that's lily white, and overwhelmingly male. We're desperate for women and brown people to join. D.E.S.P.R.A.T.E. They interview, we accept, they decline. So we ask them very earnestly why they declined. A statistical majority response with the fact that during the (long, multi-exposure) interview, they didn't seem many faces that looked like there's. They declined to spend 20-30 years being walking into meetings and enduring being the only in the room. Only woman. Only black dude. Or, twice damned, the only black woman. Lack of historical acceptance causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership, causes lack of current mentorship, causes lack of current membership. A horrible loop, set in motion when oppression was very much to blame.

Edit: terrible speler
The above all seems to presume the defining quality of a person is their race or gender. Finding issue with the fact someone here doesn't look like me constitutes viewing diversity as a collection of superficial characteristic rather than traits of much greater substance, such as diversity of thought, expression, etc. History might be to blame for the emergence of a "lily white" complexion at your workplace but it's a superficial grasp of diversity that is to blame for job candidates declining positions on the basis of those appearances.

Generally though, the manifesto was not even close to the best version of the arguments it was trying to make.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that a robustly diverse workforce goes well beyond skin tone and the angle of a worker's dangle. I don't agree the candidates turning us down are working at an immature level, though. The culture they are interviewing into doesn't appear safe and growth-oriented to them. That isn't their fault, its absolutely the fault of my org.

I also wholehearted agree that gender and race should be as superficial as curly vs straight hair when assessing a workplace you're interviewing, but right now they ain't.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Zamboni on August 07, 2017, 08:53:36 PM
As a female engineer in a successful company that has a close to 50/50 ratio of female to male engineers, I found that memo laughable at best.  I think that a lot of men, who enjoy the hyper masculine cultures in workplaces that have mostly or all men just flat out resent having to modulate their behavior with women present, which is pretty funny and ironic, since women have been altering their behavior for years in the workplace just to keep their jobs.

This.

Also, did the memo writer manage to keep his job? I would fire him for wasting time and lack of professional judgement.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 07, 2017, 09:37:24 PM
As a female engineer in a successful company that has a close to 50/50 ratio of female to male engineers, I found that memo laughable at best.  I think that a lot of men, who enjoy the hyper masculine cultures in workplaces that have mostly or all men just flat out resent having to modulate their behavior with women present, which is pretty funny and ironic, since women have been altering their behavior for years in the workplace just to keep their jobs.

This.

Also, did the memo writer manage to keep his job? I would fire him for wasting time and lack of professional judgement.

Fired. (https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/7/16111052/google-james-damore-fired-anti-diversity-manifesto)

I understand that some jobs are better suited to different sexes, but there is no fucking legitimate reason an average woman canít code as well as a man.  There is no physical strength requirement.  The main reason women donít make it in coding is not an intellectual limitation, itís culture.  The article itself is steeped in it.  Seriously, if you are a girl who excels in coding, and you read tha5 shit, how are you supposed to feel about pursuing it as a career?

I find it funny that physical strength is allowed to vary across genders, but for some mysterious magical reason, ability to code can't?

In general, sub-populations of the global population (e.g. races, genders, minorities, or any sub-population) have different properties following different statistical distributions. This is well accepted for physical features like foot length or strength, but for some reason as soon as the property in question is above the neck, people lose their fucking minds. Things like intelligence, earning power, suitability to a given profession all of a sudden must be exactly the same across different sub-populations, which is taken as dogma. Unless there is a reason and strong evidence to the contrary, properties do vary across sub-populations almost all the time, regardless of what you wish were the case, and regardless of whether you can find a nice justification to explain why. I did my PhD in data science and I don't think it's even debatable for anyone with practical experience with large datasets. Seriously, the claim that "all sub-populations must have the same ability to code!" is downright laughable and naive to me.

Now, there may still be unconscious biases in addition to biological differences. Both can exist, and we want to eliminate only the "bias" part, which isn't easy at all to disentangle from the biological part.

It does feel like Paul Graham "What You Can't Say"
http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

Here's the thing. Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful. We're talking about overlapping bell curves here. Even if the average for women is a bit lower than for men, that still means that quite a lot of women will be better than the male average. We humans tend to act on stereotypes though. If a manager, knowing that men are likely to be better at the job than women, sees two job applications from candidates of different sexes, which one is he going to call in for an interview first? Which applicant is going to constantly need to prove herself, and which one is going to have his skills taken for granted?

This is not just a hypothetical question. Women in software face this kind of bullshit every day. It needs to stop.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 07, 2017, 09:47:07 PM
Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful.

Ignorance does not solve a problem. Hiding facts certainly does not solve a problem. We should stop trying to manipulate people's psychology, and start treating them as adults. Tell them the facts, and warn them of any possible unconscious bias. Quite simple really. And don't vehemently deny something that may well be true, which invalidates your entire credibility.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 07, 2017, 09:53:51 PM
Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful.

Ignorance does not solve a problem. Hiding facts certainly does not solve a problem. We should stop trying to manipulate people's psychology, and start treating them as adults. Tell them the facts, and warn them of any possible unconscious bias. Quite simple really. And don't vehemently deny something that may well be true, which invalidates your entire credibility.

My null hypothesis is that women have brains that are roughly equivalent to men's in terms of ability to think and solve analytical problems. I don't discount the possibility of research that would invalidate that hypothesis, but if you wish to advance this line of argument the burden of proof is on you.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 07, 2017, 10:06:40 PM
Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful.

Ignorance does not solve a problem. Hiding facts certainly does not solve a problem. We should stop trying to manipulate people's psychology, and start treating them as adults. Tell them the facts, and warn them of any possible unconscious bias. Quite simple really. And don't vehemently deny something that may well be true, which invalidates your entire credibility.

My null hypothesis is that women have brains that are roughly equivalent to men's in terms of ability to think and solve analytical problems. I don't discount the possibility of research that would invalidate that hypothesis, but if you wish to advance this line of argument the burden of proof is on you.

As explained above, sub-populations almost always have different properties in practice; it just takes too much of a coincidence to have those property distributions perfectly align between sub-populations. So my null hypothesis is that biological aptitude for sofware engineering varies between men and women, and the burden of proof is on you.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: one piece at a time on August 07, 2017, 10:32:17 PM
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201707/why-brilliant-girls-tend-favor-non-stem-careers

This study explains why a quota of "50% women" in STEM is not a good idea.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: lost_in_the_endless_aisle on August 07, 2017, 10:47:04 PM
As a female engineer in a successful company that has a close to 50/50 ratio of female to male engineers, I found that memo laughable at best.  I think that a lot of men, who enjoy the hyper masculine cultures in workplaces that have mostly or all men just flat out resent having to modulate their behavior with women present, which is pretty funny and ironic, since women have been altering their behavior for years in the workplace just to keep their jobs.

This.

Also, did the memo writer manage to keep his job? I would fire him for wasting time and lack of professional judgement.

Fired. (https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/7/16111052/google-james-damore-fired-anti-diversity-manifesto)

I understand that some jobs are better suited to different sexes, but there is no fucking legitimate reason an average woman can’t code as well as a man.  There is no physical strength requirement.  The main reason women don’t make it in coding is not an intellectual limitation, it’s culture.  The article itself is steeped in it.  Seriously, if you are a girl who excels in coding, and you read tha5 shit, how are you supposed to feel about pursuing it as a career?

I find it funny that physical strength is allowed to vary across genders, but for some mysterious magical reason, ability to code can't?

In general, sub-populations of the global population (e.g. races, genders, minorities, or any sub-population) have different properties following different statistical distributions. This is well accepted for physical features like foot length or strength, but for some reason as soon as the property in question is above the neck, people lose their fucking minds. Things like intelligence, earning power, suitability to a given profession all of a sudden must be exactly the same across different sub-populations, which is taken as dogma. Unless there is a reason and strong evidence to the contrary, properties do vary across sub-populations almost all the time, regardless of what you wish were the case, and regardless of whether you can find a nice justification to explain why. I did my PhD in data science and I don't think it's even debatable for anyone with practical experience with large datasets. Seriously, the claim that "all sub-populations must have the same ability to code!" is downright laughable and naive to me.

Now, there may still be unconscious biases in addition to biological differences. Both can exist, and we want to eliminate only the "bias" part, which isn't easy at all to disentangle from the biological part.

It does feel like Paul Graham "What You Can't Say"
http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

Here's the thing. Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful. We're talking about overlapping bell curves here. Even if the average for women is a bit lower than for men, that still means that quite a lot of women will be better than the male average. We humans tend to act on stereotypes though. If a manager, knowing that men are likely to be better at the job than women, sees two job applications from candidates of different sexes, which one is he going to call in for an interview first? Which applicant is going to constantly need to prove herself, and which one is going to have his skills taken for granted?

This is not just a hypothetical question. Women in software face this kind of bullshit every day. It needs to stop.
The point about heavily overlapping bell curves is made in the manifesto and the specific mistake of applying (the hypothetical) average gender-based skills differential to individuals is also warned against. Explaining aggregate statistical outcomes and creating hiring best-practices for screening individuals are not being conflated (however, I didn't read the manifest carefully enough to know if the contrary was suggested somewhere in its bowels).

So the argument is that companies where coders skew heavily towards men could be explained by the following: 1) men are slightly more likely than women to desire or have aptitude to code 2) coding ability and desire in men and women roughly follows a normal distribution and 3) you work at a company that selects from the very far right tail of that distribution such that (even with small differences in average ability) ratios of men:women can become absurdly high the farther into the tail you go. It's a reasonable argument but premise (1) is touching the third rail, ouch for manifesto guy I guess.

Disclaimer: I'm not agreeing with the premise that there is a difference in skills (I have no idea beyond some vague reasons to believe it might be true and others to believe it might not--maybe slatestarcodex will post something that is more than a hot take?).

edit: oh, just checked and SSC presciently posted this (http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exaggerated-differences/)
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 07, 2017, 10:49:53 PM
Even if it's true that men and women have a statistically significant genetically-encoded difference in aptitude for software development (which I doubt, but let's go with it for a minute...), broad dissemination of that knowledge is actively harmful.

Ignorance does not solve a problem. Hiding facts certainly does not solve a problem. We should stop trying to manipulate people's psychology, and start treating them as adults. Tell them the facts, and warn them of any possible unconscious bias. Quite simple really. And don't vehemently deny something that may well be true, which invalidates your entire credibility.

My null hypothesis is that women have brains that are roughly equivalent to men's in terms of ability to think and solve analytical problems. I don't discount the possibility of research that would invalidate that hypothesis, but if you wish to advance this line of argument the burden of proof is on you.

As explained above, sub-populations almost always have different properties in practice; it just takes too much of a coincidence to have those property distributions perfectly align between sub-populations. So my null hypothesis is that biological aptitude for sofware engineering varies between men and women, and the burden of proof is on you.

"Some variation" is not a null hypothesis. You need to quantify it. Exactly how much variation do you believe there is, that is attributable solely to genetic factors?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 07, 2017, 11:30:10 PM
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201707/why-brilliant-girls-tend-favor-non-stem-careers

This study explains why a quota of "50% women" in STEM is not a good idea.

That blog post is gold, especially the table with citation count comparison.


"Some variation" is not a null hypothesis. You need to quantify it. Exactly how much variation do you believe there is, that is attributable solely to genetic factors?

Enough to account for a significant portion (say 20%) of the pay gap would be a good start.

Assume the pay gap is due to both biological differences (in preferences or skills), and unconscious biases:
G = Gbio + Gbias

Many liberals assume that Gbio = 0 because they think it'd be nice if things were equal, and therefore the gap G = Gbias, must be entirely due to bias.

Many conservatives assume there are biological differences hence G = Gbio and Gbias ~ 0 is overrated or negligible.

Both are wrong! The reality is in the middle, and both factors play a part. We don't know for sure where exactly in the middle, but it's presumptuous to claim any of the two terms is 0.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: MDM on August 07, 2017, 11:38:50 PM
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201707/why-brilliant-girls-tend-favor-non-stem-careers
...
Interesting take in that article: more women than men score high in both math and verbal, vs. more men than women score high in math only - and people (regardless of gender) who score high only in math tend to gravitate to STEM roles.

Might lead one to conclude that people (regardless of gender) who have both high math and verbal skills should go more into STEM, because they could outperform those who can't communicate as effectively....

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Zamboni on August 08, 2017, 03:25:35 AM
^True


As explained above, sub-populations almost always have different properties in practice; it just takes too much of a coincidence to have those property distributions perfectly align between sub-populations. So my null hypothesis is that biological aptitude for sofware engineering varies between men and women, and the burden of proof is on you.

Just to clarify how statistics and hypotheses function: what you are stating here is an alternate hypothesis, which is exactly the opposite of a null hypothesis. Seattlecyclone has stated the null hypothesis: by definition the hypothesis that there is no difference between any two groups (or that there is no relationship between variables). The burden of proof is indeed on the party with any alternate hypothesis.

Google is your friend if you don't believe me about the widely accepted definition of null hypothesis.


Fired. (https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/7/16111052/google-james-damore-fired-anti-diversity-manifesto)


It was the only logical outcome. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Mr. Damore, I hope we all understand that one simply cannot embarrass one's employer on a scale this grand with any expectation of continued employment.

Maybe he is FIRE'd by our definition and will delight us by posting his story on the epic FU money thread?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: golden1 on August 08, 2017, 04:06:48 AM
Quote
I find it funny that physical strength is allowed to vary across genders, but for some mysterious magical reason, ability to code can't?

In general, sub-populations of the global population (e.g. races, genders, minorities, or any sub-population) have different properties following different statistical distributions. This is well accepted for physical features like foot length or strength, but for some reason as soon as the property in question is above the neck, people lose their fucking minds. Things like intelligence, earning power, suitability to a given profession all of a sudden must be exactly the same across different sub-populations, which is taken as dogma. Unless there is a reason and strong evidence to the contrary, properties do vary across sub-populations almost all the time, regardless of what you wish were the case, and regardless of whether you can find a nice justification to explain why. I did my PhD in data science and I don't think it's even debatable for anyone with practical experience with large datasets. Seriously, the claim that "all sub-populations must have the same ability to code!" is downright laughable and naive to me.

Now, there may still be unconscious biases in addition to biological differences. Both can exist, and we want to eliminate only the "bias" part, which isn't easy at all to disentangle from the biological part.


I agree that there are some occupations that are suited to people with mental and physical skills, but I am not buying that coding is one of them.  Why?  Because programming (coding) was a traditionally female job first. 

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/10/06/345799830/the-forgotten-female-programmers-who-created-modern-tech

In fact, programming was a pretty low status job when my dad was a systems analyst for the federal government in the 80s.  Then once the home computer revolution they started calling themselves ďsoftware engineers.Ē 
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Zamboni on August 08, 2017, 04:18:23 AM
Response from former senior google employee (who left for greener pastures) . . . loved how he talked about "planet-scale" systems:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788 (https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788)

Three paragraphs from about half way down:
"Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then Iím very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to. Solitary work is something that only happens at the most junior levels, and even then itís only possible because someone senior to you ó most likely your manager ó has been putting in long hours to build up the social structures in your group that let you focus on code.

All of these traits which the manifesto described as ďfemaleĒ are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering. Anyone can learn how to write code; hell, by the time someone reaches L7 or so, itís expected that they have an essentially complete mastery of technique. The truly hard parts about this job are knowing which code to write, building the clear plan of what has to be done in order to achieve which goal, and building the consensus required to make that happen.

All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. Itís true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to peopleís emotional needs and so on ó this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones. Itís a skillset that I did not start out with, and have had to learn through years upon years of grueling work. (And I should add that Iím very much an introvert; if you had asked me twenty years ago if I were suited to dealing with complex interpersonal issues day-to-day, I would have looked at you like you were mad.) But I learned it because itís the heart of the job, and because it turns out that this is where the most extraordinary challenges and worthwhile results happen."
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: lhamo on August 08, 2017, 06:14:11 AM
∆∆love this so much‼

This is the kind of leader I would gladly follow. Hope his new venture is successful.

The stuff later in his post about how he would have dealt with anyone on his team doing this is priceless.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ooeei on August 08, 2017, 06:39:13 AM
FYI the memo gizmodo released omitted all of the citations, and made a few small edits here and there.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

This is the actual memo as the author wrote it.

Even if he's right, it doesn't matter. He's basically made it where a huge portion of his workplace won't want to work with him. Is that a good thing? Probably not, but it's the reality of any workplace. It's like someone in a super conservative culture posting a manifesto about all of the harm religion does and how it impacts your company negatively. If a large section of your coworkers are going to be outraged by it, it isn't good for the company regardless of whether it's correct or not.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Paul der Krake on August 08, 2017, 07:51:46 AM
Crazy stuff. Apparently the CEO had to cut short his vacation to deal with this.

It's unbelievable how toxic this subject has become.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ooeei on August 08, 2017, 08:26:50 AM
Crazy stuff. Apparently the CEO had to cut short his vacation to deal with this.

It's unbelievable how toxic this subject has become.

It's funny, the reaction to his memo is basically what he's warning against in his memo. Taboo subjects that are untouchable, even though they have real world consequences for a lot of people and companies.

Can't wait for the South Park about it. Then again I was watching some of the episodes I missed and they had one on Caitlyn Jenner that was somewhat similar. Basically anyone who implied she might be kind of a shitty person and isn't really a hero was violently attacked for being a bigot. Of course during the whole episode Caitlyn runs over about 40 people in her car just driving from place to place.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 08:48:23 AM
Crazy stuff. Apparently the CEO had to cut short his vacation to deal with this.

It's unbelievable how toxic this subject has become.

It's funny, the reaction to his memo is basically what he's warning against in his memo. Taboo subjects that are untouchable, even though they have real world consequences for a lot of people and companies.

Can't wait for the South Park about it. Then again I was watching some of the episodes I missed and they had one on Caitlyn Jenner that was somewhat similar. Basically anyone who implied she might be kind of a shitty person and isn't really a hero was violently attacked for being a bigot. Of course during the whole episode Caitlyn runs over about 40 people in her car just driving from place to place.

The fact that he was fired days after his memo came out reveals just how right he is about the culture inside his company being closed of to differing opinions.

I read the "memo" and it reads like a barely average (male) developer with delusions of grandeur thinks he'd be a rock-star at Google if only those women and minorities were not taking all the good jobs.

Quote
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness

Seriously?

The research says he is right. According to source 8 listed on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientiousness
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: scantee on August 08, 2017, 08:50:03 AM
Quote
It's funny, the reaction to his memo is basically what he's warning against in his memo.

No.

If this guy had discussed his opinions outside of work, on a blog or a forum or twitter, and he was fired for those opinions, he might have a valid free speech, censorship, or even a more mundane squelching of dissenting opinions, argument.

But he didn't do that. He essentially broadcast to everyone in his enormous company that he is unable to constructively work with a sizable percentage of his coworkers because he believes them inferior to him. What is his employer supposed to do with him now that he's made this decision to openly state he can't perform adequately at his job? Accommodate him so he never has to interact with women (or, more importantly, that women never have to work with him)? That would be barely feasible in this one-off situation, and it would certainly be completely infeasible if a large percentage of other employees expected that they should be entitled to similar accommodations.

I have to chuckle at all of the conservatives who are usually at-will employment cheerleaders getting their panties in a wad over this brouhaha. Probably the best thing you can do if you want political or controversial speech to be acceptable in the workplace is to support unions and the protections they provide.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on August 08, 2017, 09:08:49 AM
This whole situation reminds me of how male comic book fans responded when female comic book fans started showing up to conventions and cosplaying. They called them "fake geek girls", harassed them, and just generally made it unpleasant for them at events. I really think this comes down to some guys with terrible self-esteem and no self-confidence becoming frightened because they have unfulfilled wants and desires. They blame women for their own weaknesses.

My suggestion is that these guys should go talk with women and get to know them because a lot of women are cool as Hell, good to work with, and fun to be around.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: robartsd on August 08, 2017, 09:10:30 AM
Very little about the memo was "fairly reasonable." The author was trying to advance an agenda that states that a large fraction of his coworkers are biologically ill-suited for their jobs. It reads like "scientific racism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism)" of an earlier day, trying to find a scientific basis for pre-existing prejudices and thereby downplaying the need to work toward greater equality. Nothing about that is reasonable or true, nor is any workplace likely to become better by taking these ideas seriously.

I did not read that he feels a "large fraction" of his coworkers were ill-suited for their jobs. I certainly see that people who are sensitive to this subject might feel offended by his assumptions and notice the problems with his argument while overlooking the good points that he does make. Overall, he seemed to me to think that women were dissatisfied with the job rather than that the were not competent at it.

I think he made an exellent point about changing company culture to be accpeting of part-time workers would be beneficial to workplace diversity because it would provide opportunities for talented individuals who desired a different work-life balance to be involved (he assumed that this would be more women than men).

Another issue he brought up, that I thought might be worth looking at, was that he felt some of the programs aimed at attracting women portrayed the work in a way that may make in more appealing to them than it really is.

As I pointed out before, he provided a theory about why women might not do as well as men in negotiating compensation, but failed to point it out as a systematic problem that ought to be addressed.

Response from former senior google employee (who left for greener pastures) . . . loved how he talked about "planet-scale" systems:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788 (https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788)

Three paragraphs from about half way down:
"Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then Iím very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to. Solitary work is something that only happens at the most junior levels, and even then itís only possible because someone senior to you ó most likely your manager ó has been putting in long hours to build up the social structures in your group that let you focus on code.

All of these traits which the manifesto described as ďfemaleĒ are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering. Anyone can learn how to write code; hell, by the time someone reaches L7 or so, itís expected that they have an essentially complete mastery of technique. The truly hard parts about this job are knowing which code to write, building the clear plan of what has to be done in order to achieve which goal, and building the consensus required to make that happen.

All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. Itís true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to peopleís emotional needs and so on ó this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones. Itís a skillset that I did not start out with, and have had to learn through years upon years of grueling work. (And I should add that Iím very much an introvert; if you had asked me twenty years ago if I were suited to dealing with complex interpersonal issues day-to-day, I would have looked at you like you were mad.) But I learned it because itís the heart of the job, and because it turns out that this is where the most extraordinary challenges and worthwhile results happen."

Very good point about the nature of the work (especially as one moves up) being more suitible to higher level communication skills (which presumably women are more likely to be better at). If it is ture that women are generaly better at these skills that become more important at higher levels, on average women should recieve more pay than men.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 08, 2017, 09:18:52 AM
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201707/why-brilliant-girls-tend-favor-non-stem-careers

This study explains why a quota of "50% women" in STEM is not a good idea.

Great link. 

I think the controversy here isn't that there are women in tech.  You'd have to be a seriously sexist chauvinist to have a problem with women in tech.  I think the controversy is regarding whether or not "50% women in STEM" is a goal worth pursuing. 

I have no problems with organizations like girls who code offering programs, but I do think they have set the wrong metric.  The right metric, in my opinion, would be that ALL girls would have, and know that they have, abundant programs available to them should they desire to pursue tech as a hobby or career.   If you pursue the goal of 50% and you are stuck at, say, 35%, what can you do about that 15%? Nothing good.  You'll have to persuade/manipulate people to do things they haven't expressed interest in, and all because you know better than they do what will make them happy and fulfilled?



Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ooeei on August 08, 2017, 09:34:38 AM
Quote
It's funny, the reaction to his memo is basically what he's warning against in his memo.

No.

If this guy had discussed his opinions outside of work, on a blog or a forum or twitter, and he was fired for those opinions, he might have a valid free speech, censorship, or even a more mundane squelching of dissenting opinions, argument.

He said that there are certain things that you aren't allowed to question at work, he was fired for a paper questioning those things. It's certainly not illegal, but it is what he was pointing out.

Quote
But he didn't do that. He essentially broadcast to everyone in his enormous company that he is unable to constructively work with a sizable percentage of his coworkers because he believes them inferior to him. What is his employer supposed to do with him now that he's made this decision to openly state he can't perform adequately at his job? Accommodate him so he never has to interact with women (or, more importantly, that women never have to work with him)? That would be barely feasible in this one-off situation, and it would certainly be completely infeasible if a large percentage of other employees expected that they should be entitled to similar accommodations.

I have to chuckle at all of the conservatives who are usually at-will employment cheerleaders getting their panties in a wad over this brouhaha. Probably the best thing you can do if you want political or controversial speech to be acceptable in the workplace is to support unions and the protections they provide.

Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

For example (my example not his), say 60% of men are ideally suited for tech, and 30% of women are. That means a company that picks on merit is most likely going to have around twice as many men working in a given tech role, as that's proportional to the number of qualified candidates in each gender. Forcing it to be 50/50 doesn't make much sense if that's the case. That doesn't mean he thinks women are bad at tech, he's saying that assuming tech companies aren't 50/50 completely due to prejudice might be wrong, but saying that out loud isn't okay in the tech world, and ignoring that possibility might be holding his company back as they're hiring some people for political and social reasons rather than based on actual qualifications.

As a real world example, if I was making a team of the tallest 10% of people in my city, it would likely have more men than women in it.  That doesn't mean I think women are unable to be tall, or tall women are inferior to tall men.  It just means that among the population men tend to be ON AVERAGE, taller than women. Obviously the tech situation is more complicated than that, but he does link to numerous sources in his argument, and for the most part is just saying it may be something worth researching further (but that research isn't being done because it's a taboo subject).
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: scantee on August 08, 2017, 10:02:24 AM
Quote
Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

I did slog through the whole memo.

The way this plays out in the real world is that population differences across genders are also used against individual women who have excellent quantitative or analytical skills on par with the best men. Every mistake, every decision, that these women make is filtered through this prism that women, generally, aren't as good as men. They aren't allowed to make mistakes as highly qualified individuals, rather their mistakes are treated as evidence of their gender's inferiority.

I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 10:36:08 AM
Quote
Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

I did slog through the whole memo.

The way this plays out in the real world is that population differences across genders are also used against individual women who have excellent quantitative or analytical skills on par with the best men. Every mistake, every decision, that these women make is filtered through this prism that women, generally, aren't as good as men. They aren't allowed to make mistakes as highly qualified individuals, rather their mistakes are treated as evidence of their gender's inferiority.

I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

Would enforcing gender quotas increase or decrease the belief that women aren't as capable?

I would prefer if hiring was more gender blind by taking names/gender off resume's so that the person with better experience and more value to offer the company would get hired. However when this is done it appears women get hired less than when the hiring isn't gender blind. This seems to indicate the possibility there is actually positive discrimination towards women being hired rather than men.

https://pmc.gov.au/resource-centre/domestic-policy/going-blind-see-more-clearly-unconscious-bias-australian-public-services-shortlisting-processes

The Australian government started trials testing gender blind hiring practices because they believed the idea that their hiring practices were discriminating against women and minorities and that blind hiring practices would increase the percentage of women and minorities hired. They did the study and found that actually when blind hiring practices women and minorities actually got hired less. Instead of coming to the conclusion hey maybe it isn't that they are all sexists and racist and we need to fight this they come to the following conclusion:
"Overall, the results indicate the need for caution when moving towards íblindí recruitment processes in the APS, as de-identification may frustrate efforts aimed at promoting diversity."

This shows a bias that diversity is more important than merit and if that is the case in an organization, company or government it is going to call in to question the capability of people hired not for merits sake, but instead primarily for the sake of promoting diversity.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 11:05:59 AM
I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

How do you know? Could the reason be that men are discriminated against in that area due to gender stereotypes? Stop being prejudiced, and recognize that men are discriminated against in today's world. That paragraph of yours reeks of man-hate, and if I was in your reporting chain, I'd escort you out of the building with HR.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ixtap on August 08, 2017, 11:10:17 AM
Quote
Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

I did slog through the whole memo.

The way this plays out in the real world is that population differences across genders are also used against individual women who have excellent quantitative or analytical skills on par with the best men. Every mistake, every decision, that these women make is filtered through this prism that women, generally, aren't as good as men. They aren't allowed to make mistakes as highly qualified individuals, rather their mistakes are treated as evidence of their gender's inferiority.

I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

Would enforcing gender quotas increase or decrease the belief that women aren't as capable?

I would prefer if hiring was more gender blind by taking names/gender off resume's so that the person with better experience and more value to offer the company would get hired. However when this is done it appears women get hired less than when the hiring isn't gender blind. This seems to indicate the possibility there is actually positive discrimination towards women being hired rather than men.

https://pmc.gov.au/resource-centre/domestic-policy/going-blind-see-more-clearly-unconscious-bias-australian-public-services-shortlisting-processes

The Australian government started trials testing gender blind hiring practices because they believed the idea that their hiring practices were discriminating against women and minorities and that blind hiring practices would increase the percentage of women and minorities hired. They did the study and found that actually when blind hiring practices women and minorities actually got hired less. Instead of coming to the conclusion hey maybe it isn't that they are all sexists and racist and we need to fight this they come to the following conclusion:
"Overall, the results indicate the need for caution when moving towards íblindí recruitment processes in the APS, as de-identification may frustrate efforts aimed at promoting diversity."

This shows a bias that diversity is more important than merit and if that is the case in an organization, company or government it is going to call in to question the capability of people hired not for merits sake, but instead primarily for the sake of promoting diversity.

Many people look at this kind of study and automatically assume that it is because such people can't do the work. However, the results are equally consistent with systematic discrimination. That is, in many cases big data can help you determine that if someone with X,Y and Z against them can attain B level, you are likely to get as good or better work from them as the A level candidate that does not have those factors against them.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 11:22:57 AM
Quote
Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

I did slog through the whole memo.

The way this plays out in the real world is that population differences across genders are also used against individual women who have excellent quantitative or analytical skills on par with the best men. Every mistake, every decision, that these women make is filtered through this prism that women, generally, aren't as good as men. They aren't allowed to make mistakes as highly qualified individuals, rather their mistakes are treated as evidence of their gender's inferiority.

I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

Would enforcing gender quotas increase or decrease the belief that women aren't as capable?

I would prefer if hiring was more gender blind by taking names/gender off resume's so that the person with better experience and more value to offer the company would get hired. However when this is done it appears women get hired less than when the hiring isn't gender blind. This seems to indicate the possibility there is actually positive discrimination towards women being hired rather than men.

https://pmc.gov.au/resource-centre/domestic-policy/going-blind-see-more-clearly-unconscious-bias-australian-public-services-shortlisting-processes

The Australian government started trials testing gender blind hiring practices because they believed the idea that their hiring practices were discriminating against women and minorities and that blind hiring practices would increase the percentage of women and minorities hired. They did the study and found that actually when blind hiring practices women and minorities actually got hired less. Instead of coming to the conclusion hey maybe it isn't that they are all sexists and racist and we need to fight this they come to the following conclusion:
"Overall, the results indicate the need for caution when moving towards íblindí recruitment processes in the APS, as de-identification may frustrate efforts aimed at promoting diversity."

This shows a bias that diversity is more important than merit and if that is the case in an organization, company or government it is going to call in to question the capability of people hired not for merits sake, but instead primarily for the sake of promoting diversity.

Many people look at this kind of study and automatically assume that it is because such people can't do the work. However, the results are equally consistent with systematic discrimination. That is, in many cases big data can help you determine that if someone with X,Y and Z against them can attain B level, you are likely to get as good or better work from them as the A level candidate that does not have those factors against them.

So you would advocate hiring the person that seems less qualified on paper because based purely on superficial indicators(perceived skin colour or gender) that you would use to make assumptions about their past that might not actually be applicable to them at all?

I'm all for removing barriers and letting anyone do whatever they want. However if you remove those barriers and there is still a discrepancy I don't agree propping people up based on the groups they belong to just to make up for perceived injustices is the right course of action.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: scantee on August 08, 2017, 11:28:51 AM
I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

How do you know? Could the reason be that men are discriminated against in that area due to gender stereotypes? Stop being prejudiced, and recognize that men are discriminated against in today's world. That paragraph of yours reeks of man-hate, and if I was in your reporting chain, I'd escort you out of the building with HR.

You seem very emotional about this topic. Maybe this is a conversation that you should step back from if you can't discuss it without it getting angry.

If you truly think that what I wrote is "man-hate" you're welcome to report me to the moderators. I welcome their review of my comments.

If you're interested, I know that men aren't "interested" because I am involved in hiring decisions. We focus heavily on recruiting men to the organization to improve gender diversity. As part of that process, we solicit feedback from applicants when they decide to take other jobs. Men say they find the work work we do compelling and like our organization, but think the public accolades in other fields or other types of organizations outweighs some of the more low-key successes that people in our field experience. This is something we as an organization are working on, so that we can improve our competitiveness to attract more men.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: thesvenster on August 08, 2017, 11:33:01 AM
Pretty basic stuff in the Google engineer's memo. In the early days of tech, or any new industry, everything is results oriented. Now that Google has arrived at success, it can afford to be less results oriented and focus more on extraneous things, like diversity hiring.

And for all the pearl clutching about the memo's statements about the differences between men and women, I'd be willing to bet Google's ad algorithms take male vs female demographics into account for their marketing.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 08, 2017, 11:38:19 AM
in many cases big data can help you determine that if someone with X,Y and Z against them can attain B level, you are likely to get as good or better work from them as the A level candidate that does not have those factors against them.

I'd be interested in seeing this big data report.

I'm skeptical of this phenomenon, but I'm open to being convinced.


On the flip side of this, in a liberal utoptia, where discrimination doesn't exist, and affirmative action and girls who code programs abound, couldn't you apply the inverse?

Couldn't you say that for someone without X,Y and Z going for them can attain B level, you are likely to get as good or better work from them as the A level candidate that does have those factors?

Logically, I think you could.  Of course we don't live in a perfect world, but the more we see these programs and the more we are aware of diversity quotas/goals/metrics, the more people will suspect that minorities and women won't perform as well as their white male counterparts.

I think these quotas could have the unintended effect of fomenting discrimination rather than eliminating it. 

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 12:20:29 PM
I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

How do you know? Could the reason be that men are discriminated against in that area due to gender stereotypes? Stop being prejudiced, and recognize that men are discriminated against in today's world. That paragraph of yours reeks of man-hate, and if I was in your reporting chain, I'd escort you out of the building with HR.

You seem very emotional about this topic. Maybe this is a conversation that you should step back from if you can't discuss it without it getting angry.

If you truly think that what I wrote is "man-hate" you're welcome to report me to the moderators. I welcome their review of my comments.

If you're interested, I know that men aren't "interested" because I am involved in hiring decisions. We focus heavily on recruiting men to the organization to improve gender diversity. As part of that process, we solicit feedback from applicants when they decide to take other jobs. Men say they find the work work we do compelling and like our organization, but think the public accolades in other fields or other types of organizations outweighs some of the more low-key successes that people in our field experience. This is something we as an organization are working on, so that we can improve our competitiveness to attract more men.

Just pointing out your own inconsistencies. Of course moderators wouldn't do anything because "man-hate" isn't a thing in our society. In fact merely suggesting it might exist is seen as misogyny. Totally laughable. We're really in a world of sheeps, can't wait for the next generation to realize our mistakes, pretty sure that will happen.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Roboturner on August 08, 2017, 12:35:54 PM
I didn't get the same thing (most) of you all did apparently

I thought it was well articulated and thoughtful, and didn't say "Women are inferior or dumb" - mostly it questioned some of Google's (boarder line-illegal) "diversity" initiatives, and even GAVE SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT.

how is this a bad thing?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 12:49:47 PM
I didn't get the same thing (most) of you all did apparently

I thought it was well articulated and thoughtful, and didn't say "Women are inferior or dumb" - mostly it questioned some of Google's (boarder line-illegal) "diversity" initiatives, and even GAVE SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT.

how is this a bad thing?

My suspicion is most didn't read it and are instead going off of media spin to inform their opinion on the matter. Most of the news outlets have either used selective excerpts and some of the outlets have even made their versions of the memo available stripping out sources he used to back up his points. Seems like an indicator of bias.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: A Definite Beta Guy on August 08, 2017, 12:51:14 PM
I generally agreed with the viewpoint of the original controversial memo's author (though there are a few places I seriosly disagree). I think the response was a typical corporate non-answer crafted to pacify the internal echo chamber the memo's author wanted to bring attention to.

Under "Personality Differences" the original controversial memo says:
Quote
This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and thereís overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a womenís issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
To me this indicates a possible systematic problem should be addressed to reduce the gender pay gap; but the author's context indicates to me that he thinks it is just a "natural and just" disparity.

I read the "memo" and it reads like a barely average (male) developer with delusions of grandeur thinks he'd be a rock-star at Google if only those women and minorities were not taking all the good jobs.

Quote
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness

Seriously?

Yeah, while most of the memo was fairly reasonable, that particular claim has nothing to stand on. I don't even think most conservatives would agree with his assumption.

So I intend to be charitable, but your bolded interpretation is not at all what the author wrote (at least in that snippet). The author's seems pretty clear to me.

There are shy, weak-willed men. They are taken advantage of in salary negotiations. They do not speak up at work. They do not "lean in."

These men do not receive cultural support, because "Lean In" is a movement only for women. In the Pay Gap narrative, companies can only take advantage of women in salary negotiations.

This can be quite damaging to the company, as the company fails to take advantage of the men
in their company, just as much as it fails to take advantage of their women. Just because the group Google underpays/does not utilize is 60% women, does not mean the 40% of men do not exist.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Jrr85 on August 08, 2017, 12:55:58 PM
I read the "memo" and it reads like a barely average (male) developer with delusions of grandeur thinks he'd be a rock-star at Google if only those women and minorities were not taking all the good jobs.

Quote
Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness

Seriously?

I haven't looked at the research cited.  What are the obvious flaws with it?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 08, 2017, 01:22:40 PM
I thought it was well articulated and thoughtful, and didn't say "Women are inferior or dumb"

I'm not sure how one can interpret the overlapping bell curve chart other than to see that the author believes women are inherently inferior at software development.

There are all sorts of reasons why fewer women than men would decide to pursue a career in software. Biological differences are one possibility, yes, but one that is far from proven. As golden1 pointed out earlier, software development was originally seen as "women's work" by men who thought hardware engineering had a higher level of status. Once Microsoft and other software companies started being profitable in their own right, and software development became seen as more of a high-status job, men rushed in.

I'm not discounting the possibility of a small genetic difference in aptitude, but let's be clear. Any biological difference is vastly eclipsed by the social biases around software engineering as an occupation.  So many of my women and racial minority colleagues have multiple stories about times when they were explicitly discouraged from pursuing a career in software because a parent or teacher or good friend didn't think it was a good fit for them as a woman or racial minority. Diversity initiatives are meant to combat that type of discouragement by providing explicit encouragement: girls can code, technology is for black people too, etc. To say that possible, unproven genetic differences are a reason to consider stopping diversity initiatives is missing the point entirely.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ooeei on August 08, 2017, 01:42:36 PM
Quote
Did you even read the paper? It seems from this response you've only read other summaries of it. He states numerous times that these analyses don't mean much for the individual, because there is significant overlap between groups.

I did slog through the whole memo.

The way this plays out in the real world is that population differences across genders are also used against individual women who have excellent quantitative or analytical skills on par with the best men. Every mistake, every decision, that these women make is filtered through this prism that women, generally, aren't as good as men. They aren't allowed to make mistakes as highly qualified individuals, rather their mistakes are treated as evidence of their gender's inferiority.

I work in a field that is dominated by women. The topical area we work on isn't really of interest to men. But it's a very quantitative work. I work with many female statisticians, data scientists, and analysts. Many have PhDs from elite schools. I don't think most of the women I work with have a huge, personal interest in our more people-oriented rather than thing-oriented research, they work here because they get to do analytical work without their intellect being constantly questioned due to their gender. Many would be very happy to work in more integrated spaces on more masculine research, and several have, but it just gets so god damn tiring having to constantly work against the assumption that you're not as smart, not as capable, because women "generally" aren't as analytical as men.

So your argument isn't that the author is incorrect, but rather that these ideas can be misused to disqualify women from positions they're otherwise qualified for? Does that mean we just put on blinders and pretend these other factors don't exist?

I get where you're coming from, and you're probably right about how it might be used, but those same people who would use this to disqualify women will use the "diversity hire" excuse to discredit the women they do hire. The tough thing is, if diversity hiring is forced and brings in underqualified candidates, the dissenters will be right because they candidates will actually be inferior to their majority counterparts.

I think this is similar to the armed forces discussions happening over the past few years. Should women be banned from joining elite combat squads like the Army Rangers? No, not if they're qualified. I do find it very hard to believe that of the Ranger candidates, 50% of the qualified personnel are female, so I don't think it should be a forced 50/50 split. If the army forced it to be a 50/50 split, I think they'd put themselves at a disadvantage compared to other similar forces without that restriction.

I guess it depends on how you think we should approach the problem, and where you think we are right now. 30 years ago it was very common for women to be turned down for a position despite being the best candidate.  Now it seems at least in some cases (but not all), women are being chosen for positions in spite of not being the best candidate. I get that there's still a pay gap (although far less than the 30% or whatever is usually cited once you correct for work hours and job type), but the pendulum is close to if not past the center point now.

So do we have the Army Rangers force a 50/50 split until the recruits catch up to that ratio, and hope that eventually they do? Or do we try and give everyone an equal shot at things, and accept that being a minority is a given for certain demographics in certain jobs, and something you have to deal with? If you're a guy who wants to be a nurse, or a girl who wants to be a logger, you're going to have to deal with being in the minority.

I'm not sure how one can interpret the overlapping bell curve chart other than to see that the author believes women are inherently inferior at software development.

There are all sorts of reasons why fewer women than men would decide to pursue a career in software. Biological differences are one possibility, yes, but one that is far from proven. As golden1 pointed out earlier, software development was originally seen as "women's work" by men who thought hardware engineering had a higher level of status. Once Microsoft and other software companies started being profitable in their own right, and software development became seen as more of a high-status job, men rushed in.

I'm not discounting the possibility of a small genetic difference in aptitude, but let's be clear. Any biological difference is vastly eclipsed by the social biases around software engineering as an occupation.  So many of my women and racial minority colleagues have multiple stories about times when they were explicitly discouraged from pursuing a career in software because a parent or teacher or good friend didn't think it was a good fit for them as a woman or racial minority. Diversity initiatives are meant to combat that type of discouragement by providing explicit encouragement: girls can code, technology is for black people too, etc. To say that possible, unproven genetic differences are a reason to consider stopping diversity initiatives is missing the point entirely.

How about the idea that men are inferior at verbal communication, or understanding people? Is that about women being inferior too?

Men and women are biologically different.  There's plenty of overlap, but there has been a lot of research that shows differences in them across not only human cultures, but primates as well. Testosterone alone is a really powerful hormone that changes all sorts of personality traits, ask any guy who's gone on supplementation for it. To say that you somehow know that the difference is just social and completely discount the research is a pretty far reach.

Programs encouraging women to get in to certain classes or hobbies or whatever are a great thing, give them the opportunity to do it. Programs forcing companies to hire candidates based on their gender or race just seem a bit racist/sexist to me, which I thought was the opposite of what we were trying to achieve.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 01:58:54 PM
I thought it was well articulated and thoughtful, and didn't say "Women are inferior or dumb"

I'm not sure how one can interpret the overlapping bell curve chart other than to see that the author believes women are inherently inferior at software development.

There are all sorts of reasons why fewer women than men would decide to pursue a career in software. Biological differences are one possibility, yes, but one that is far from proven. As golden1 pointed out earlier, software development was originally seen as "women's work" by men who thought hardware engineering had a higher level of status. Once Microsoft and other software companies started being profitable in their own right, and software development became seen as more of a high-status job, men rushed in.

I'm not discounting the possibility of a small genetic difference in aptitude, but let's be clear. Any biological difference is vastly eclipsed by the social biases around software engineering as an occupation.  So many of my women and racial minority colleagues have multiple stories about times when they were explicitly discouraged from pursuing a career in software because a parent or teacher or good friend didn't think it was a good fit for them as a woman or racial minority. Diversity initiatives are meant to combat that type of discouragement by providing explicit encouragement: girls can code, technology is for black people too, etc. To say that possible, unproven genetic differences are a reason to consider stopping diversity initiatives is missing the point entirely.

A lot of assertions and anecdote with no actual research provided to back it up. As far as intelligence goes the research favours nature over nurture in the long run.

Research suggests that environmental factors may have an effect upon IQ during childhood. It was found that severely deprived, neglectful, or abusive environments have highly negative effects on many aspects of children's intellect development. Beyond that minimum, however, the role of family experience is in serious dispute. On the other hand, by late adolescence this correlation disappears, such that adoptive siblings no longer have similar IQ scores. Adoption studies indicate that, by adulthood, adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ than strangers (IQ correlation near zero), while full siblings show an IQ correlation of 0.6. Twin studies reinforce this pattern: monozygotic (identical) twins raised separately are highly similar in IQ (0.74), more so than dizygotic (fraternal) twins raised together (0.6) and much more than adoptive siblings (~0.0). Recent adoption studies also found that supportive parents can have a positive effect on the development of their children.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9549239

Now it might be a stretch to say high IQ/g factor would guarantee someone will make for a  great programmer. But it is a much stronger case than you saying that environmental factors are simply overriding "small genetic differences".

Also the bell curve also implies that there are many more stupid men than there are stupid women. But all the people complaining about it conveniently ignore this part.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Roboturner on August 08, 2017, 02:17:28 PM
My suspicion is most didn't read it and are instead going off of media spin to inform their opinion on the matter.

That's our culture in a nutshell - rent-an-opinion (bonus points if it's popular!)
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Trede on August 08, 2017, 02:22:53 PM
Taking the discussion in another direction, I find myself far more curious about the motivations and/or the environment that prompted Mr. Damore to write the memo in the first place.  It certainly seems to have over-ridden his instinct for professional self-preservation (or given he's still relatively young he didn't consider its content and the context of where he posted it and the impact it could have on his professional self... or that even that there's a difference between professional and personal selfs.... but I digress).  If anyone finds an interview by him or news article taking the motivation question on, I'd like to see the link.  Sure, we can speculate all kinds of things, but I'd rather not.

I've gone back over the memo (thanks to the person who posted the link to the original, by the way), and while the majority of the content is about his views on the validity and approach to diversity programs, I wish he'd expounded more on the "shaming dissenters into silence."  He makes some pretty broad leaps on his Page 3 about company behaviors vs. how the majority of its employees lean (i.e., left or right), and then says "Googleís left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence."  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and interpret that as a far leaning company to either side may have a "monoculture."  Even then, is it his own discomfort in being in a culture that does not match his personal leanings creating the "shame" or a bona fide hostile work environment?

(By the way, older female engineer in a male-dominated industry here.  My lack of interest in Damore's core diversity treatise is because I'm jaded and personally at peace with my views on the topic, not because I don't think the topic itself has value.  I'm just hoping to see more information on the motivations question.)
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 08, 2017, 02:38:09 PM
I'm old enough to know this sort of argument has been cropping up for decades.  What I find most enlightening, beyond the random tidbits like the throwaway statistic about worker deaths by gender, is the "Suggestions" that come at the end.

1.  Stop moralizing Diversity.
If we don't make a moral issue of diversity, then we don't actually have a diversity problem, do we?  The problem exists because we value the idea of everyone being offered a seat at the table.
If you saw starving children arriving at your kids' school every day, would you say, "Let's not moralize this.  Let's determine pragmatically if feeding these children is part of a valid economic model, vis-a-vis how much we get back in taxes and societal benefit."?
No?  Would you just find a way to get them food because you think it's "right" to feed children?
Well, Mr. Damore finds you irrational for "moralizing" starvation.

2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

The real problem he's seeing is that reality isn't working out to favour his biases and he's hoping to preserve one last place where the hard core "meritocracy" will put people like himself at the front.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 02:44:12 PM
I'm old enough to know this sort of argument has been cropping up for decades.  What I find most enlightening, beyond the random tidbits like the throwaway statistic about worker deaths by gender, is the "Suggestions" that come at the end.

1.  Stop moralizing Diversity.
If we don't make a moral issue of diversity, then we don't actually have a diversity problem, do we?  The problem exists because we value the idea of everyone being offered a seat at the table.
If you saw starving children arriving at your kids' school every day, would you say, "Let's not moralize this.  Let's determine pragmatically if feeding these children is part of a valid economic model, vis-a-vis how much we get back in taxes and societal benefit."?
No?  Would you just find a way to get them food because you think it's "right" to feed children?
Well, Mr. Damore finds you irrational for "moralizing" starvation.

2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

The real problem he's seeing is that reality isn't working out to favour his biases and he's hoping to preserve one last place where the hard core "meritocracy" will put people like himself at the front.

Toque.

We could read what he has to say and argue his points.

Or we could read between the lines and speculate as to what his "intent" was.

The latter is so much easier because it doesn't require researching his points and using actual data to dispute him and instead allows us to simply dismiss them out of hand.

Also he doesn't come off as a conservative to me. Just like some who aren't part of a minority group can advocate for those of said group it is also possible for someone to advocate for conservative's having the freedom to speak while not being one nor agreeing with everything they believe. Given that the writer actually goes out and agrees that discrimination sexism and racism are things that actually are happening in America I suspect they are at "worst" centrist and probably have quite a few liberal beliefs.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Jrr85 on August 08, 2017, 02:47:54 PM
I'm old enough to know this sort of argument has been cropping up for decades.  What I find most enlightening, beyond the random tidbits like the throwaway statistic about worker deaths by gender, is the "Suggestions" that come at the end.

1.  Stop moralizing Diversity.
If we don't make a moral issue of diversity, then we don't actually have a diversity problem, do we?  The problem exists because we value the idea of everyone being offered a seat at the table.
If you saw starving children arriving at your kids' school every day, would you say, "Let's not moralize this.  Let's determine pragmatically if feeding these children is part of a valid economic model, vis-a-vis how much we get back in taxes and societal benefit."?
No?  Would you just find a way to get them food because you think it's "right" to feed children?
Well, Mr. Damore finds you irrational for "moralizing" starvation.

2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

The real problem he's seeing is that reality isn't working out to favour his biases and he's hoping to preserve one last place where the hard core "meritocracy" will put people like himself at the front.

Toque.

Clearly the senior engineer at google with a phD in systems biology from Harvard is a failure and lashing out. 
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: scantee on August 08, 2017, 03:01:04 PM
Quote
So your argument isn't that the author is incorrect, but rather that these ideas can be misused to disqualify women from positions they're otherwise qualified for? Does that mean we just put on blinders and pretend these other factors don't exist?

My argument is (or would be, I don't believe I've made my argument yet) that we don't have very good research findings yet that tease out the purely genetic, epigenetic, and purely environmental factors that contribute to varying gender performance in programming or any other profession. I think it is important to remember that we are very early into this massive cultural shift of having women 1) in the working world in 2) professions that have been traditionally male-dominated. Acknowledging that we're still in the very early stages of this change means admitting that we simply don't know, and probably won't know for some time, what that means in terms of gender-specific work performance in science and math fields.

Just for argument's sake, let's grant one of the major premises of the memo, that there is massive overlap in the aptitude curves for programming for the two genders, but that there are more men on the right tail end, and this is what primarily contributes to the gender skewness in programming. Even with this, I still don't think that necessarily translates into men at the right tail end being better at programming in an actual work environment even in the most elite and sought after companies like Google. Google isn't running some sort of massive, theoretical coding contest. They make products by real human beings for real human beings, which is an endeavor that requires high level communication and collaboration skills, not just technical skills. This is true of most technical work in modern work environments. It is possible that people who are slightly less technically skilled, but very good with things like communication and planning, might actually perform at a higher level than someone with superb technical skills who lacks other soft skills or executive functioning qualities.



Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 03:11:43 PM
My argument is (or would be, I don't believe I've made my argument yet) that we don't have very good research findings yet that tease out the purely genetic, epigenetic, and purely environmental factors that contribute to varying gender performance in programming or any other profession. I think it is important to remember that we are very early into this massive cultural shift of having women 1) in the working world in 2) professions that have been traditionally male-dominated. Acknowledging that we're still in the very early stages of this change means admitting that we simply don't know, and probably won't know for some time, what that means in terms of gender-specific work performance in science and math fields.

Completely agree that we don't know, really. It seems the main source of contention is how exactly to make an educated guess and proceed in the absence of conclusive evidence. We all have biases (Bayesian view of the world), we need to decide what's most probable given our limited knowledge.


Just for argument's sake, let's grant one of the major premises of the memo, that there is massive overlap in the aptitude curves for programming for the two genders, but that there are more men on the right tail end, and this is what primarily contributes to the gender skewness in programming. Even with this, I still don't think that necessarily translates into men at the right tail end being better at programming in an actual work environment even in the most elite and sought after companies like Google. Google isn't running some sort of massive, theoretical coding contest. They make products by real human beings for real human beings, which is an endeavor that requires high level communication and collaboration skills, not just technical skills. This is true of most technical work in modern work environments. It is possible that people who are slightly less technically skilled, but very good with things like communication and planning, might actually perform at a higher level than someone with superb technical skills who lacks other soft skills or executive functioning qualities.

Well, Google interviews are 5 hour-long interviews of whiteboard technical problem solving (coding). That should tell you what Google really values for their employees. If communication was that important, you'd think they would weigh that more during recruiting, or end up with a non-qualified workforce.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: ooeei on August 08, 2017, 03:18:03 PM
Quote
So your argument isn't that the author is incorrect, but rather that these ideas can be misused to disqualify women from positions they're otherwise qualified for? Does that mean we just put on blinders and pretend these other factors don't exist?

My argument is (or would be, I don't believe I've made my argument yet) that we don't have very good research findings yet that tease out the purely genetic, epigenetic, and purely environmental factors that contribute to varying gender performance in programming or any other profession. I think it is important to remember that we are very early into this massive cultural shift of having women 1) in the working world in 2) professions that have been traditionally male-dominated. Acknowledging that we're still in the very early stages of this change means admitting that we simply don't know, and probably won't know for some time, what that means in terms of gender-specific work performance in science and math fields.

Just for argument's sake, let's grant one of the major premises of the memo, that there is massive overlap in the aptitude curves for programming for the two genders, but that there are more men on the right tail end, and this is what primarily contributes to the gender skewness in programming. Even with this, I still don't think that necessarily translates into men at the right tail end being better at programming in an actual work environment even in the most elite and sought after companies like Google. Google isn't running some sort of massive, theoretical coding contest. They make products by real human beings for real human beings, which is an endeavor that requires high level communication and collaboration skills, not just technical skills. This is true of most technical work in modern work environments. It is possible that people who are slightly less technically skilled, but very good with things like communication and planning, might actually perform at a higher level than someone with superb technical skills who lacks other soft skills or executive functioning qualities.

I agree with everything you said, and it doesn't seem all that far off from the author's points either. He uses what research we do have, but doesn't talk about completely gutting all diversity programs. He gives numerous suggestions that can help increase diversity naturally without forcing it, and basically asks to consider revising some of their programs.

I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

I did an exercise at a corporate thing awhile back where they had us watch a speech the CEO gave twice. The first time we were instructed to think of him as a great guy with the company's best interests at heart who was trying to do a good job. The second time we were instructed to think of him like a villain who's only out for himself at anyone's expense, and has a puppy at home he keeps around to kick when he's mad. Even though we were doing it on purpose, it was remarkable how different the speech sounded and how I interpreted it through those different lenses. In the first case he was a good guy who was telling us some things that realistically had to be done, and would make us all a success. It was inspiring. In the second case he was a rich asshole telling us all we have to do extra work so he can get paid. I basically wanted to sabotage my work to screw him over. Exact same speech, 5 minutes apart, and with a forced perspective not nearly as deeply rooted as much of my personality and expectations. Since then I've tried to approach most things with giving the person the benefit of the doubt, although I don't always succeed.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 03:20:50 PM
Quote
So your argument isn't that the author is incorrect, but rather that these ideas can be misused to disqualify women from positions they're otherwise qualified for? Does that mean we just put on blinders and pretend these other factors don't exist?

My argument is (or would be, I don't believe I've made my argument yet) that we don't have very good research findings yet that tease out the purely genetic, epigenetic, and purely environmental factors that contribute to varying gender performance in programming or any other profession. I think it is important to remember that we are very early into this massive cultural shift of having women 1) in the working world in 2) professions that have been traditionally male-dominated. Acknowledging that we're still in the very early stages of this change means admitting that we simply don't know, and probably won't know for some time, what that means in terms of gender-specific work performance in science and math fields.

Just for argument's sake, let's grant one of the major premises of the memo, that there is massive overlap in the aptitude curves for programming for the two genders, but that there are more men on the right tail end, and this is what primarily contributes to the gender skewness in programming. Even with this, I still don't think that necessarily translates into men at the right tail end being better at programming in an actual work environment even in the most elite and sought after companies like Google. Google isn't running some sort of massive, theoretical coding contest. They make products by real human beings for real human beings, which is an endeavor that requires high level communication and collaboration skills, not just technical skills. This is true of most technical work in modern work environments. It is possible that people who are slightly less technically skilled, but very good with things like communication and planning, might actually perform at a higher level than someone with superb technical skills who lacks other soft skills or executive functioning qualities.

What do you believe is more important of the two? Would someone with amazing technical ability, but sufficient interpersonal skills or someone with sufficient technical ability, but amazing interpersonal skills? If it were me I would prefer the former rather than the latter in software development. Of course you aren't going to hire someone completely incompetent in the interpersonal department. You might be right that once you get high enough up the corporate ladder in software development that the latter becomes the more attractive. However the corporate structure is generally going to be very much like a pyramid and there are going to be a much larger amount of people near the bottom than higher up. If both of these are correct then it would be reasonable to expect that no matter what the former of the two is likely to outnumber the latter.

Then there is also the case generally people need to climb this corporate ladder and are expected to first and foremost excel at their current job before being considered for getting any kind of promotion. So if you are in a situation where the first person is going to perform best at the entry level jobs they are more likely to get to the positions higher up the ladder from that starting point. Now this of course doesn't apply for someone being hired from outside the company, but many people get promoted from inside the company on most levels except for the highest few. Not only that but to get the experience required many would have had to climb the ladder in a significantly similar enough corporation elsewhere to show they have the requisite experience.

The thing is he isn't actually arguing against women getting to any of these positions, he is arguing against google spending money and restricting freedom of speech/opinion among their employees to convince people that would otherwise not have decided to go with software development to pursue software development and not based upon their general capabilities, but instead their sex or skin tone.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Zamboni on August 08, 2017, 03:21:57 PM
Well, Google interviews are 5 hour-long interviews of whiteboard technical problem solving (coding). That should tell you what Google really values for their employees. If communication was that important, you'd think they would weigh that more during recruiting, or end up with a non-qualified workforce.

Have you ever had a long whiteboard technical interview or presentation? I have . . . it is almost all about communication. Just about anyone who gets their foot in the door for those sessions can code, and everyone in the the room knows they can code, but can they talk to the group about coding? Can they interact with the interview group in a productive and professional manner? Do they make eye contact and acknowledge suggestions by others? Do they admit when they've gone in an odd direction and say "oh, my mistake, let's go back a couple of steps and think about this"? Do they ask follow up questions if the task is unclear? Do they come across as arrogant and abrasive? No offense is intended here, but you completely misunderstand why they are doing the hiring that way. If the just wanted spectacular coders who are asocial and awkward, then they would let the interview team spend their valuable time on other projects while the coding test problems are completed by applicants on paper, or perhaps on video as they talk to themselves. Sure, they might filter out the odd duck who really can't code with this method, but what they are really looking for is composure, creativity, confidence, cooperation, humility, and professional behavior.

Research on team composition has shown that high functioning diverse teams can solve problems that stump the most skilled or capable individual on the team as well as teams with theoretically "more skill" but less diverse compositions. Google is in business to make money, and the people who advise Google are well aware of the wealth of social science research about putting together the most productive work teams. Thus, Google is putting all of this effort into recruiting, hiring, and retaining for team diversity because, in any problem solving or designing field, it is good for business and will ultimately make their products stronger and more robust.

All of this bad press about the pay gap and sexist and/or leftist corporate culture has got to be driving the higher ups nutty there . . . no wonder the CEO cut his family vacation short.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 03:28:24 PM
Quote
So your argument isn't that the author is incorrect, but rather that these ideas can be misused to disqualify women from positions they're otherwise qualified for? Does that mean we just put on blinders and pretend these other factors don't exist?

My argument is (or would be, I don't believe I've made my argument yet) that we don't have very good research findings yet that tease out the purely genetic, epigenetic, and purely environmental factors that contribute to varying gender performance in programming or any other profession. I think it is important to remember that we are very early into this massive cultural shift of having women 1) in the working world in 2) professions that have been traditionally male-dominated. Acknowledging that we're still in the very early stages of this change means admitting that we simply don't know, and probably won't know for some time, what that means in terms of gender-specific work performance in science and math fields.

Just for argument's sake, let's grant one of the major premises of the memo, that there is massive overlap in the aptitude curves for programming for the two genders, but that there are more men on the right tail end, and this is what primarily contributes to the gender skewness in programming. Even with this, I still don't think that necessarily translates into men at the right tail end being better at programming in an actual work environment even in the most elite and sought after companies like Google. Google isn't running some sort of massive, theoretical coding contest. They make products by real human beings for real human beings, which is an endeavor that requires high level communication and collaboration skills, not just technical skills. This is true of most technical work in modern work environments. It is possible that people who are slightly less technically skilled, but very good with things like communication and planning, might actually perform at a higher level than someone with superb technical skills who lacks other soft skills or executive functioning qualities.

I agree with everything you said, and it doesn't seem all that far off from the author's points either. He uses what research we do have, but doesn't talk about completely gutting all diversity programs. He gives numerous suggestions that can help increase diversity naturally without forcing it, and basically asks to consider revising some of their programs.

I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

I did an exercise at a corporate thing awhile back where they had us watch a speech the CEO gave twice. The first time we were instructed to think of him as a great guy with the company's best interests at heart who was trying to do a good job. The second time we were instructed to think of him like a villain who's only out for himself at anyone's expense, and has a puppy at home he keeps around to kick when he's mad. Even though we were doing it on purpose, it was remarkable how different the speech sounded and how I interpreted it through those different lenses. In the first case he was a good guy who was telling us some things that realistically had to be done, and would make us all a success. It was inspiring. In the second case he was a rich asshole telling us all we have to do extra work so he can get paid. I basically wanted to sabotage my work to screw him over. Exact same speech, 5 minutes apart, and with a forced perspective not nearly as deeply rooted as much of my personality and expectations. Since then I've tried to approach most things with giving the person the benefit of the doubt, although I don't always succeed.

Yeah it's called priming and can be quite powerful and happens all the time. Even the article title for the gizmodo article uses priming. It is referred to as an anti-diversity screed. First off screed generally implies negativity colouring the whole thing from the start and anti-diversity is another way to imply negativity when pro diversity of though would be more descriptive of the actual memo. Finally they removed all the sources the original memo contained, because this would counter their priming that there is no basis for his points and that they are merely bigoted opinions.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 03:30:54 PM
Well, Google interviews are 5 hour-long interviews of whiteboard technical problem solving (coding). That should tell you what Google really values for their employees. If communication was that important, you'd think they would weigh that more during recruiting, or end up with a non-qualified workforce.

Have you ever had a long whiteboard technical interview or presentation? I have . . . it is almost all about communication. Just about anyone who gets their foot in the door for those sessions can code, and everyone in the the room knows they can code, but can they talk to the group about coding? Can they interact with the interview group in a productive and professional manner? Do they make eye contact and acknowledge suggestions by others? Do they admit when they've gone in an odd direction and say "oh, my mistake, let's go back a couple of steps and think about this"? Do they ask follow up questions if the task is unclear? Do they come across as arrogant and abrasive? No offense is intended here, but you completely misunderstand why they are doing the hiring that way. If the just wanted spectacular coders who are asocial and awkward, then they would let the interview team spend their valuable time on other projects while the coding test problems are completed by applicants on paper, or perhaps on video as they talk to themselves. Sure, they might filter out the odd duck who really can't code with this method, but what they are really looking for is composure, creativity, confidence, cooperation, humility, and professional behavior.

I interview software engineers for a big tech company. You're wrong, it's not "almost all" about communication, not even close. Communication is important, but a relatively small factor. And no, not all applicants can code well. Not even close either. In fact, most can't do the simplest thing, and figure out the simplest algorithm. I'm not kidding, it is that awful. My coworkers who interview think the same.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 03:37:17 PM
Well, Google interviews are 5 hour-long interviews of whiteboard technical problem solving (coding). That should tell you what Google really values for their employees. If communication was that important, you'd think they would weigh that more during recruiting, or end up with a non-qualified workforce.

Have you ever had a long whiteboard technical interview or presentation? I have . . . it is almost all about communication. Just about anyone who gets their foot in the door for those sessions can code, and everyone in the the room knows they can code, but can they talk to the group about coding? Can they interact with the interview group in a productive and professional manner? Do they make eye contact and acknowledge suggestions by others? Do they admit when they've gone in an odd direction and say "oh, my mistake, let's go back a couple of steps and think about this"? Do they ask follow up questions if the task is unclear? Do they come across as arrogant and abrasive? No offense is intended here, but you completely misunderstand why they are doing the hiring that way. If the just wanted spectacular coders who are asocial and awkward, then they would let the interview team spend their valuable time on other projects while the coding test problems are completed by applicants on paper, or perhaps on video as they talk to themselves. Sure, they might filter out the odd duck who really can't code with this method, but what they are really looking for is composure, creativity, confidence, cooperation, humility, and professional behavior.

I interview software engineers for a big tech company. You're wrong, it's not "almost all" about communication, not even close. Communication is important, but a relatively small factor. And no, not all applicants can code well. Not even close either. In fact, most can't do the simplest thing, and figure out the simplest algorithm. I'm not kidding, it is that awful. My coworkers who interview think the same.

I'd never even heard of the game FizzBuzz until I started looking into coding.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Zamboni on August 08, 2017, 03:39:30 PM
And it takes Google 5 hours to figure out someone can't code? No way. I am the technical gatekeeper in many interviews, and I can find out if someone is technically incompetent in less than 30 minutes. Often it takes only 5-10 minutes. My opinion that you are completely missing the point of the lengthy white board interviews stands, but YMMV.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 03:45:28 PM
Also as point to massive sexism of the memo writer he has the gall to posit alternatives to effectively get more talented women in to google such as:
Improving work life balance
Making software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration
Allowing those that exhibit cooperative behavior to thrive

These would likely lead to more women being promoted as a percentage without giving them a leg up simply because they are women. There might be women that lack this and men that do not.

It's strange that this person that according to some believes women to be inferior would posit ways to get more women involved.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 03:53:18 PM
And it takes Google 5 hours to figure out someone can't code? No way. I am the technical gatekeeper in many interviews, and I can find out if someone is technically incompetent in less than 30 minutes. Often it takes only 5-10 minutes. My opinion that you are completely missing the point of the lengthy white board interviews stands, but YMMV.

They use the full 5 hours for every candidate because it would be disrespectful to send them back after 30 minutes as soon as they knew they were incompetent. So yes, after 5-10 minutes, I pretty much know how it's going to go, but I'm instructed to follow through with the full interview, so that's what I do. I'll adjust down the level of follow-up questions I ask, if any. They also have phone screens, but those are not foolproof, and recruiters give a "second chance" to many candidates they really really want to succeed, due to their background. That's how it works.

Communication skills are evaluated, but only if they give out red flags, e.g. arrogance, non-interest, etc. Most people easily pass that bar, but fail regarding technical skills. That's the kind of interview feedback that hiring managers are interested in. That's how tech companies size up their candidates.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: deborah on August 08, 2017, 04:24:46 PM
As a retired former IT manager, I find a lot that is said here strange.

In Australia, the number of coders is around 40/60 men/women. In the major capital cities it is much higher for women (maybe 65/35) and in rural (more conservative) areas the proportion weighs far more in favour of the men - maybe 80/20 - so it is definitely a mindset rather than an innate difference. The number of people in the hardware/comms area is far more in the 80/20 area - unfortunately, it appears that women are encouraged to go into programming rather than that side of the shop (which also explains the higher proportion of women in coding). When I have interviewed people, the women came out as good at coding as the men. We certainly never detected a difference there - we used tests, and I checked because I had somebody question whether women were worse at coding. We also never detected much difference between hardware/comms applicants - or rather, it tended to be in the women's favour (I tend to think that makes sense, as only the truly dedicated surmount the sexism hurdle).

I remember when I was our comms expert, and went to my first comms user group meeting. There were about 500 people there, and I was the only woman. That sort of difference would have been daunting for most people. Fortunately, things have progressed from there, and by the time I retired, I was no longer being asked who I was looking for when I attended such meetings, and being mistaken for a PA.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Christof on August 08, 2017, 04:39:55 PM
So you would advocate hiring the person that seems less qualified on paper because based purely on superficial indicators(perceived skin colour or gender) that you would use to make assumptions about their past that might not actually be applicable to them at all?

That assumes that the most qualified person is the best person to hire... As a business owner I can tell you that this not true. Productivity of a company depends widely on how well people work together, on the quality of the companies' procedures and how well those are followed.

I have to hire for the company I have and according to the direction I want the company to move. I can't hire for a company I wished to have. The company might be better off if I had different people, but that simply isn't the case, unless I start over.

Qualification is a smaller issue, because it can be improved with training. Attitude and personality are much more fixed, so we try to hire based on these traits.

And before there is any misunderstanding.... We are a software company. 50% of our workers are above 50 and until recently we had a 50/50 distribution between male and female employees. It's not like we only hire young, white, male developers. We're small though...
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 04:40:08 PM
As a retired former IT manager, I find a lot that is said here strange.

In Australia, the number of coders is around 40/60 men/women. In the major capital cities it is much higher for women (maybe 65/35) and in rural (more conservative) areas the proportion weighs far more in favour of the men - maybe 80/20 - so it is definitely a mindset rather than an innate difference. The number of people in the hardware/comms area is far more in the 80/20 area - unfortunately, it appears that women are encouraged to go into programming rather than that side of the shop (which also explains the higher proportion of women in coding). When I have interviewed people, the women came out as good at coding as the men. We certainly never detected a difference there - we used tests, and I checked because I had somebody question whether women were worse at coding. We also never detected much difference between hardware/comms applicants - or rather, it tended to be in the women's favour (I tend to think that makes sense, as only the truly dedicated surmount the sexism hurdle).

I remember when I was our comms expert, and went to my first comms user group meeting. There were about 500 people there, and I was the only woman. That sort of difference would have been daunting for most people. Fortunately, things have progressed from there, and by the time I retired, I was no longer being asked who I was looking for when I attended such meetings, and being mistaken for a PA.

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2015#profile

92.1% male in 2015.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 04:47:15 PM
So you would advocate hiring the person that seems less qualified on paper because based purely on superficial indicators(perceived skin colour or gender) that you would use to make assumptions about their past that might not actually be applicable to them at all?

That assumes that the most qualified person is the best person to hire... As a business owner I can tell you that this not true. Productivity of a company depends widely on how well people work together, on the quality of the companies' procedures and how well those are followed.

I have to hire for the company I have and according to the direction I want the company to move. I can't hire for a company I wished to have. The company might be better off if I had different people, but that simply isn't the case, unless I start over.

Qualification is a smaller issue, because it can be improved with training. Attitude and personality are much more fixed, so we try to hire based on these traits.

And before there is any misunderstanding.... We are a software company. 50% of our workers are above 50 and until recently we had a 50/50 distribution between male and female employees. It's not like we only hire young, white, male developers. We're small though...

The most qualified is the best to hire...period. At no point did I mention that this solely mean their ability to code. I even elaborated on this in a previous post:
"What do you believe is more important of the two? Would someone with amazing technical ability, but sufficient interpersonal skills or someone with sufficient technical ability, but amazing interpersonal skills? If it were me I would prefer the former rather than the latter in software development. Of course you aren't going to hire someone completely incompetent in the interpersonal department. You might be right that once you get high enough up the corporate ladder in software development that the latter becomes the more attractive. However the corporate structure is generally going to be very much like a pyramid and there are going to be a much larger amount of people near the bottom than higher up. If both of these are correct then it would be reasonable to expect that no matter what the former of the two is likely to outnumber the latter."

Also I would say it gets harder and harder to not hire the most qualified the larger the scope of your company is. If a small mom and pop store are looking for someone to create their web presence they probably don't need the absolute best programmer available and they can get away with simply finding someone convenient that they like.

When you are Google, Microsoft or other companies of similar size and competitiveness this is less the case.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: deborah on August 08, 2017, 04:57:04 PM
As a retired former IT manager, I find a lot that is said here strange.

In Australia, the number of coders is around 40/60 men/women. In the major capital cities it is much higher for women (maybe 65/35) and in rural (more conservative) areas the proportion weighs far more in favour of the men - maybe 80/20 - so it is definitely a mindset rather than an innate difference. The number of people in the hardware/comms area is far more in the 80/20 area - unfortunately, it appears that women are encouraged to go into programming rather than that side of the shop (which also explains the higher proportion of women in coding). When I have interviewed people, the women came out as good at coding as the men. We certainly never detected a difference there - we used tests, and I checked because I had somebody question whether women were worse at coding. We also never detected much difference between hardware/comms applicants - or rather, it tended to be in the women's favour (I tend to think that makes sense, as only the truly dedicated surmount the sexism hurdle).

I remember when I was our comms expert, and went to my first comms user group meeting. There were about 500 people there, and I was the only woman. That sort of difference would have been daunting for most people. Fortunately, things have progressed from there, and by the time I retired, I was no longer being asked who I was looking for when I attended such meetings, and being mistaken for a PA.

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2015#profile

92.1% male in 2015.
I was quoting the AUSTRALIAN figures that I was well aware of when I was in the industry. No matter whether they have seriously changed for the worse, or the international figures are a lot worse than Australia, my figures are accurate, and show that when given a chance, women are as capable.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 08, 2017, 04:58:22 PM
As a retired former IT manager, I find a lot that is said here strange.

In Australia, the number of coders is around 40/60 men/women. In the major capital cities it is much higher for women (maybe 65/35) and in rural (more conservative) areas the proportion weighs far more in favour of the men - maybe 80/20 - so it is definitely a mindset rather than an innate difference. The number of people in the hardware/comms area is far more in the 80/20 area - unfortunately, it appears that women are encouraged to go into programming rather than that side of the shop (which also explains the higher proportion of women in coding). When I have interviewed people, the women came out as good at coding as the men. We certainly never detected a difference there - we used tests, and I checked because I had somebody question whether women were worse at coding. We also never detected much difference between hardware/comms applicants - or rather, it tended to be in the women's favour (I tend to think that makes sense, as only the truly dedicated surmount the sexism hurdle).

I remember when I was our comms expert, and went to my first comms user group meeting. There were about 500 people there, and I was the only woman. That sort of difference would have been daunting for most people. Fortunately, things have progressed from there, and by the time I retired, I was no longer being asked who I was looking for when I attended such meetings, and being mistaken for a PA.

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2015#profile

92.1% male in 2015.
I was quoting the AUSTRALIAN figures that I was well aware of when I was in the industry. No matter whether they have seriously changed for the worse, or the international figures are a lot worse than Australia, my figures are accurate, and show that when given a chance, women are as capable.

The only thing that says is that the Australian market is not representative of the larger market.

Also stating that if they had changed to have fewer women that it would be worse kind of indicates a bias when the statement is made in a vacuum. If someone said that the industry is worse because there are fewer men and that was their central premise I would call them out for that too.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: deborah on August 08, 2017, 05:01:28 PM
As a retired former IT manager, I find a lot that is said here strange.

In Australia, the number of coders is around 40/60 men/women. In the major capital cities it is much higher for women (maybe 65/35) and in rural (more conservative) areas the proportion weighs far more in favour of the men - maybe 80/20 - so it is definitely a mindset rather than an innate difference. The number of people in the hardware/comms area is far more in the 80/20 area - unfortunately, it appears that women are encouraged to go into programming rather than that side of the shop (which also explains the higher proportion of women in coding). When I have interviewed people, the women came out as good at coding as the men. We certainly never detected a difference there - we used tests, and I checked because I had somebody question whether women were worse at coding. We also never detected much difference between hardware/comms applicants - or rather, it tended to be in the women's favour (I tend to think that makes sense, as only the truly dedicated surmount the sexism hurdle).

I remember when I was our comms expert, and went to my first comms user group meeting. There were about 500 people there, and I was the only woman. That sort of difference would have been daunting for most people. Fortunately, things have progressed from there, and by the time I retired, I was no longer being asked who I was looking for when I attended such meetings, and being mistaken for a PA.

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2015#profile

92.1% male in 2015.
I was quoting the AUSTRALIAN figures that I was well aware of when I was in the industry. No matter whether they have seriously changed for the worse, or the international figures are a lot worse than Australia, my figures are accurate, and show that when given a chance, women are as capable.

The only thing that says is that the Australian market is not representative of the larger market.
That is not true - it says that GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, people of different genders perform as well as one another. If other markets don't give women the opportunity, that is their loss.

It is also an online survey, with all the known problems that online surveys have (eg. THEY DON'T REFLECT REAL LIFE FIGURES) show me some decent data!
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Christof on August 08, 2017, 05:29:44 PM
The most qualified is the best to hire...period.

In a big corporate environment, probably yes, though I lack personal experience. That is, in a company that has thousands or more of employees... In a small to medium sized business (which is what I own and which is the company size that employs the majority of employees) you would be crazy to hire that person, so any business up to a few hundred. Their lack of interpersonal skills will poison the whole company. The larger the company is the less relevant this will become, as there will be limited interaction.

There isn't a rule that a certain kind of employee is the best one. As the company grows you need different persons in all positions including the CEO. Almost nobody can grow a business successfully from just being themselves to thousands of people.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: SisterX on August 08, 2017, 08:08:45 PM
Of course moderators wouldn't do anything because "man-hate" isn't a thing in our society. In fact merely suggesting it might exist is seen as misogyny. Totally laughable. We're really in a world of sheeps, can't wait for the next generation to realize our mistakes, pretty sure that will happen.

There is, in fact, a term for "man-hate". Misandry. The fact that there is a word for it clearly shows that it is, in fact, a thing. However, it's been usurped by ridiculous terms like "feminazi" and other derogatory words to label women who are just sick and tired of being treated as lesser for having ovaries.

You're welcome. (https://www.google.com/search?q=the+more+you+know&rlz=1C1AVNG_enUS664US664&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7gduXh8nVAhUU12MKHdIxBfgQsAQIJw&biw=1366&bih=662)



You people really need to read more about business. For as wonderful and all-knowing as you seem to be, many of you don't actually know anything about why so many large companies are pushing for more diversity. Zamboni hit it on the head with this:

Research on team composition has shown that high functioning diverse teams can solve problems that stump the most skilled or capable individual on the team as well as teams with theoretically "more skill" but less diverse compositions. Google is in business to make money, and the people who advise Google are well aware of the wealth of social science research about putting together the most productive work teams. Thus, Google is putting all of this effort into recruiting, hiring, and retaining for team diversity because, in any problem solving or designing field, it is good for business and will ultimately make their products stronger and more robust.

For all that many of you have said that anyone who doesn't support this document is suppressing a valid concern that a subset of people have, it's been shown many times over that it's not only not a valid concern but also, having a greater diversity of opinion leads to better and better outcomes. Having a company stocked with white males is not only sure to fail because of image but also because there won't be people to point out very real issues with the products. It's like having only right-handed people designing things and then wondering why left-handed people don't like them or can't use them. It's a bad idea. That's something you could learn in a business management 101 class.

If you'd truly like to learn more, rather than just dismissing me because *ugh* women, try reading the book "The Wisdom of Crowds". It discusses what makes groups successful (diversity being highest on the list) and what makes them less successful (lack of diversity leads to the "echo chamber" that so many of you claim you want to get away from by, durr durr durr, denying that women and minorities are as valuable and productive), and where they can go wrong at various stages.

Last: It's not really the fault of women that men and boys are brought up to be emotionally stunted terrible communicators. That's a societal problem, mostly because of patriarchal "men must be strong and feelings are for sissies" gender stereotypes, and one that feminists would actually like to see rectified. I know, gasp away. It's like...it's like feminism isn't just good for women! O_O
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 08:52:31 PM
Having a company stocked with white males is not only sure to fail because of image but also because there won't be people to point out very real issues with the products. It's like having only right-handed people designing things and then wondering why left-handed people don't like them or can't use them.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I just skimmed your post, but wouldn't this apply mostly for product managers, UX designers and the like? Software engineers are mostly designing systems to meet well-defined product requirements, so I don't see why left-handed folks are necessary to design that code.


Here's Erlich Bachman on gender imbalance in the VC field and mansplaining to loosen up the mood:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyC_NKEz62A
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: seattlecyclone on August 08, 2017, 09:39:38 PM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: vern on August 08, 2017, 09:55:13 PM
Thoughtcrime is not tolerated.

(http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/1984.jpg?w=590)
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: AccidentialMustache on August 08, 2017, 10:01:09 PM
Response from former senior google employee (who left for greener pastures) . . . loved how he talked about "planet-scale" systems:

This.

Signed,
A non-google but formerly "planet-scale" software engineer.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Paul der Krake on August 08, 2017, 10:29:10 PM
Agreed, please send some of those well-defined software projects my way. Dealing with ambiguity is the only game in town.

FWIW, I read the entire thing and didn't think it was that outrageous. I saw some good points, some not so good points, and some places where I thought he should tread more carefully. It read like a semi-organized stream of consciousness, something you would jot down after thinking about an issue for a while. He bent over backwards to put caveats and nuance in many of his statements, but ultimately people only focused on the couple sentences they could harp on.

Many people have questioned his motives, and why he would spend time putting a 10 page document together on something that's seemingly not his job: that's a tech culture thing. It happens all. the. fucking. time. He could have written 10 pages on the alarm system in the building or the shape of the trays at the cafeteria, and nobody would have batted an eye.

Initially, I thought his bit about conservatives being silenced was far-fetched. Probably because we don't live in a vacuum and this line of argument is usually used by the lunatics who rave about Christian oppression and the War on Christmas. Now that he's been fired over this, I'm not so sure.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 08, 2017, 11:17:03 PM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: deborah on August 09, 2017, 12:39:02 AM
First off, I have been looking around, and at least 20% of developers are women - everywhere. So it is nonsense to say there are less. Unfortunately, since I have left the field it appears to have become a lot less welcoming to women, and there are fewer now than there were.

Secondly, diversity does make a difference - it can be quite amazing how much! Often, the part of the project where a miracle is supposed to occur (the bit that hasn't been mapped out because no-one has any idea how it can be done), suddenly is resolved by the diversity element. As someone with more time in IT than I suspect anyone else in this discussion, I have seen everyone bogged down, and along comes a solution - sometimes it was the bloke in the wheelchair, sometimes the quiet woman in the corner. It was rarely the loud-mouths who had dominated discussion, and had interrupted the others during every sentence.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 09, 2017, 01:07:37 AM
Secondly, diversity does make a difference - it can be quite amazing how much! Often, the part of the project where a miracle is supposed to occur (the bit that hasn't been mapped out because no-one has any idea how it can be done), suddenly is resolved by the diversity element. As someone with more time in IT than I suspect anyone else in this discussion, I have seen everyone bogged down, and along comes a solution - sometimes it was the bloke in the wheelchair, sometimes the quiet woman in the corner. It was rarely the loud-mouths who had dominated discussion, and had interrupted the others during every sentence.

Some aspects of diversity are important, like personality traits (e.g. loud mouths vs reserved types) and maybe academic backgrounds (e.g. it's nice to have a person stronger in advanced math in the team), but some aspects are almost irrelevant in comparison, like disabilities, language, race, etc. Funny that we hear all day about racial or gender diversity, but almost never about diversity of academic backgrounds! Why? No one has a political agenda about academic backgrounds, so companies don't care about it, and don't talk about it, because in all honesty, all of those factors are relatively small.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 07:18:31 AM
I'm old enough to know this sort of argument has been cropping up for decades.  What I find most enlightening, beyond the random tidbits like the throwaway statistic about worker deaths by gender, is the "Suggestions" that come at the end.

1.  Stop moralizing Diversity.
If we don't make a moral issue of diversity, then we don't actually have a diversity problem, do we?  The problem exists because we value the idea of everyone being offered a seat at the table.
If you saw starving children arriving at your kids' school every day, would you say, "Let's not moralize this.  Let's determine pragmatically if feeding these children is part of a valid economic model, vis-a-vis how much we get back in taxes and societal benefit."?
No?  Would you just find a way to get them food because you think it's "right" to feed children?
Well, Mr. Damore finds you irrational for "moralizing" starvation.

2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

The real problem he's seeing is that reality isn't working out to favour his biases and he's hoping to preserve one last place where the hard core "meritocracy" will put people like himself at the front.

Toque.

Clearly the senior engineer at google with a phD in systems biology from Harvard is a failure and lashing out.

https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 07:23:38 AM
Secondly, diversity does make a difference - it can be quite amazing how much! Often, the part of the project where a miracle is supposed to occur (the bit that hasn't been mapped out because no-one has any idea how it can be done), suddenly is resolved by the diversity element. As someone with more time in IT than I suspect anyone else in this discussion, I have seen everyone bogged down, and along comes a solution - sometimes it was the bloke in the wheelchair, sometimes the quiet woman in the corner. It was rarely the loud-mouths who had dominated discussion, and had interrupted the others during every sentence.

Because all the men are rude loudmouths right? This is exactly what the memo argues against. That diversity where everyone looks different, but thinks exactly the same is not conducive to these innovative solutions. He doesn't say there shouldn't be women, he says they shouldn't be there just because they are women and that google's practices currently are less geared to removing the barriers actually preventing the women that could measure up to google's requirements and instead lower the bar.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 07:37:47 AM
This is a much better response than I have time to craft:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788

Basically: the tools that the original memo attributes to women (empathy, cooperation, teamwork etc.) are the real tools of engineering.  Competing, within a workplace, is not a real thing.  In addition, how could a manager at google ever assign this guy a group to work in, especially with women in it?

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 07:39:03 AM
I'm old enough to know this sort of argument has been cropping up for decades.  What I find most enlightening, beyond the random tidbits like the throwaway statistic about worker deaths by gender, is the "Suggestions" that come at the end.

1.  Stop moralizing Diversity.
If we don't make a moral issue of diversity, then we don't actually have a diversity problem, do we?  The problem exists because we value the idea of everyone being offered a seat at the table.
If you saw starving children arriving at your kids' school every day, would you say, "Let's not moralize this.  Let's determine pragmatically if feeding these children is part of a valid economic model, vis-a-vis how much we get back in taxes and societal benefit."?
No?  Would you just find a way to get them food because you think it's "right" to feed children?
Well, Mr. Damore finds you irrational for "moralizing" starvation.

2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

The real problem he's seeing is that reality isn't working out to favour his biases and he's hoping to preserve one last place where the hard core "meritocracy" will put people like himself at the front.

Toque.

Clearly the senior engineer at google with a phD in systems biology from Harvard is a failure and lashing out.

https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.

He wasn't saying that qualified him to talk on it, though he doesn't need to. Do you have a degree that qualifies you to talk about what systems biology, human behavior and evolutionary psychology along with which is and isn't a valid field for this discussion?

The reason it was brought up to say that this person has had a successful career and probably not someone having a tough time getting by and lashing out due to this.

Instead of saying he is missing the point maybe provide some actual research showing he is wrong. Also your interpretation on the "social push" for women to have a work-life balance is not some kind of fact. It's interesting that in countries with more gender equality actually show larger sex differences in career choice and women actually choose to go in to stem less when their options are more equal not less. I would say there is more of both a biological and social push for men to earn a lot and have a valuable career.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27100631

So your conclusion that this is something society does to women doesn't follow.

You are still simply asserting stuff and trying to read between the lines rather than address the actual research he has used to back up his memo.

You don't find his memo compelling because you don't want to believe it. You bring up things wholly unrelated to what his memo says instead of actually addressing it leading me to believe there is some serious confirmation bias going on in your responses.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 07:41:25 AM
Agreed, please send some of those well-defined software projects my way. Dealing with ambiguity is the only game in town.

FWIW, I read the entire thing and didn't think it was that outrageous. I saw some good points, some not so good points, and some places where I thought he should tread more carefully. It read like a semi-organized stream of consciousness, something you would jot down after thinking about an issue for a while. He bent over backwards to put caveats and nuance in many of his statements, but ultimately people only focused on the couple sentences they could harp on.

Many people have questioned his motives, and why he would spend time putting a 10 page document together on something that's seemingly not his job: that's a tech culture thing. It happens all. the. fucking. time. He could have written 10 pages on the alarm system in the building or the shape of the trays at the cafeteria, and nobody would have batted an eye.

Initially, I thought his bit about conservatives being silenced was far-fetched. Probably because we don't live in a vacuum and this line of argument is usually used by the lunatics who rave about Christian oppression and the War on Christmas. Now that he's been fired over this, I'm not so sure.

Part of me suspects he knew he would be fired and that it would actually lend him more credence on that dissident thoughts are not accepted at google.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 07:46:18 AM
This is a much better response than I have time to craft:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788

Basically: the tools that the original memo attributes to women (empathy, cooperation, teamwork etc.) are the real tools of engineering.  Competing, within a workplace, is not a real thing.  In addition, how could a manager at google ever assign this guy a group to work in, especially with women in it?

Toque.

First line of said article is already mischaracterizing the original memo, good start:
"You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, itís just not worth it."

Despite the memo actually arguing for ways to make the job more attractive to more women.

Then proceeds to say hey I'm not actually going to argue the citations he provided that I'm saying are wrong wrong:
"(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender."

"1. Iím not going to spend any length of time on (1); if anyone wishes to provide details as to how nearly every statement about gender in that entire document is actively incorrect,Ļ and flies directly in the face of all research done in the field for decades, they should go for it. But I am neither a biologist, a psychologist, nor a sociologist, so Iíll leave that to someone else."

So he is saying the memo writer is wrong, but isn't actually interested in determining why. So either he hasn't looked in to it and has no leg to stand on or he knows he is wrong so he isn't going to attempt to address it in which case it's just a big case of personal PR for the writer.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: bacchi on August 09, 2017, 07:58:26 AM
It's interesting that in countries with more gender equality actually show larger sex differences in career choice and women actually choose to go in to stem less when their options are more equal not less. I would say there is more of both a biological and social push for men to earn a lot and have a valuable career.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27100631

So your conclusion that this is something society does to women doesn't follow.

The abstract of the study you linked states:

"Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters."

Did you mean a different study?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 09, 2017, 07:59:18 AM
What do you believe is more important of the two? Would someone with amazing technical ability, but sufficient interpersonal skills or someone with sufficient technical ability, but amazing interpersonal skills? If it were me I would prefer the former rather than the latter in software development. Of course you aren't going to hire someone completely incompetent in the interpersonal department. You might be right that once you get high enough up the corporate ladder in software development that the latter becomes the more attractive. However the corporate structure is generally going to be very much like a pyramid and there are going to be a much larger amount of people near the bottom than higher up. If both of these are correct then it would be reasonable to expect that no matter what the former of the two is likely to outnumber the latter.

Then there is also the case generally people need to climb this corporate ladder and are expected to first and foremost excel at their current job before being considered for getting any kind of promotion. So if you are in a situation where the first person is going to perform best at the entry level jobs they are more likely to get to the positions higher up the ladder from that starting point. Now this of course doesn't apply for someone being hired from outside the company, but many people get promoted from inside the company on most levels except for the highest few. Not only that but to get the experience required many would have had to climb the ladder in a significantly similar enough corporation elsewhere to show they have the requisite experience.

The higher you go/get in an organization, the more important the interpersonal/soft skills become. I've worked with a lot of Fortune 100 companies over the last 20 years and I've seen this in action over and over again.

I also teach leadership and negotiation in a master's program in engineering management -- my students are enrolled in this course precisely to learn the soft skills that will position them to advance more quickly into leadership roles in their companies and fields.

Very few STEM-educated men and women ever get academic exposure to soft skill development - it's all about technical knowledge and skills acquisition. And that's certainly what's needed to succeed as an individual contributor early on in one's career. I agree 100% that getting anything done at Google or elsewhere requires far more than technical skills: collaboration, teaming, conflict management skills, etc.

As a general point, diversity (of all kinds) is good for innovation, which in turn is good for a company's bottom line. A Morgan Stanley Sustainability and Global Quantitative Research team study (link https://www.forbes.com/sites/morganstanley/2017/06/23/women-employees-boost-the-bottom-line-for-tech-firms/#30b01e885ad4 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/morganstanley/2017/06/23/women-employees-boost-the-bottom-line-for-tech-firms/#30b01e885ad4)) of 1600 corporations showed that:
ē   Highly gender diverse tech companies returned an average of 5.4 percent more annually than their peers with less gender diversity
ē   ďMore gender equality, particularly in corporate settings, likely corresponds with increased productivity; greater innovation; higher employee retention and better risk managementóall critical factors for improving a tech company's odds of staying competitive.Ē
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 08:01:05 AM
It's interesting that in countries with more gender equality actually show larger sex differences in career choice and women actually choose to go in to stem less when their options are more equal not less. I would say there is more of both a biological and social push for men to earn a lot and have a valuable career.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27100631

So your conclusion that this is something society does to women doesn't follow.

The abstract of the study you linked states:

"Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters."

Did you mean a different study?

"Most importantly and contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries."
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 09, 2017, 08:05:15 AM
Agreed, please send some of those well-defined software projects my way. Dealing with ambiguity is the only game in town.

FWIW, I read the entire thing and didn't think it was that outrageous. I saw some good points, some not so good points, and some places where I thought he should tread more carefully. It read like a semi-organized stream of consciousness, something you would jot down after thinking about an issue for a while. He bent over backwards to put caveats and nuance in many of his statements, but ultimately people only focused on the couple sentences they could harp on.

Many people have questioned his motives, and why he would spend time putting a 10 page document together on something that's seemingly not his job: that's a tech culture thing. It happens all. the. fucking. time. He could have written 10 pages on the alarm system in the building or the shape of the trays at the cafeteria, and nobody would have batted an eye.

Initially, I thought his bit about conservatives being silenced was far-fetched. Probably because we don't live in a vacuum and this line of argument is usually used by the lunatics who rave about Christian oppression and the War on Christmas. Now that he's been fired over this, I'm not so sure.

Part of me suspects he knew he would be fired and that it would actually lend him more credence on that dissident thoughts are not accepted at google.

I heard on NPR yesterday that Google's promotions/annual eval cycle depends heavily on peer reviews, and that it's possible they fired him b/c of the legal jeopardy they could get into if a person who has publicly vocalized a negative bias about women engineers then evaluates the women engineers he works with.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: A Definite Beta Guy on August 09, 2017, 08:24:15 AM
Agreed, please send some of those well-defined software projects my way. Dealing with ambiguity is the only game in town.

FWIW, I read the entire thing and didn't think it was that outrageous. I saw some good points, some not so good points, and some places where I thought he should tread more carefully. It read like a semi-organized stream of consciousness, something you would jot down after thinking about an issue for a while. He bent over backwards to put caveats and nuance in many of his statements, but ultimately people only focused on the couple sentences they could harp on.

Many people have questioned his motives, and why he would spend time putting a 10 page document together on something that's seemingly not his job: that's a tech culture thing. It happens all. the. fucking. time. He could have written 10 pages on the alarm system in the building or the shape of the trays at the cafeteria, and nobody would have batted an eye.

Initially, I thought his bit about conservatives being silenced was far-fetched. Probably because we don't live in a vacuum and this line of argument is usually used by the lunatics who rave about Christian oppression and the War on Christmas. Now that he's been fired over this, I'm not so sure.

Part of me suspects he knew he would be fired and that it would actually lend him more credence on that dissident thoughts are not accepted at google.

I think the guy thought he wasn't going to get fired. My impression is that Google makes a big show of saying it tolerates diversity, employee ingenuity, dissidence etc. and the author thought that umbrella might protect him. He also probably thought his neutral writing style and attempts to prove his case would also protect him.

Every culture has their shibboleths and part of being a good employee is knowing what not to question. You don't disrupt the company culture, you assimilate to it.

You definitely should be smart enough not to fall for the obvious Hundreds Flowers ploy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Flowers_Campaign).
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 08:25:19 AM
Agreed, please send some of those well-defined software projects my way. Dealing with ambiguity is the only game in town.

FWIW, I read the entire thing and didn't think it was that outrageous. I saw some good points, some not so good points, and some places where I thought he should tread more carefully. It read like a semi-organized stream of consciousness, something you would jot down after thinking about an issue for a while. He bent over backwards to put caveats and nuance in many of his statements, but ultimately people only focused on the couple sentences they could harp on.

Many people have questioned his motives, and why he would spend time putting a 10 page document together on something that's seemingly not his job: that's a tech culture thing. It happens all. the. fucking. time. He could have written 10 pages on the alarm system in the building or the shape of the trays at the cafeteria, and nobody would have batted an eye.

Initially, I thought his bit about conservatives being silenced was far-fetched. Probably because we don't live in a vacuum and this line of argument is usually used by the lunatics who rave about Christian oppression and the War on Christmas. Now that he's been fired over this, I'm not so sure.

Part of me suspects he knew he would be fired and that it would actually lend him more credence on that dissident thoughts are not accepted at google.

I heard on NPR yesterday that Google's promotions/annual eval cycle depends heavily on peer reviews, and that it's possible they fired him b/c of the legal jeopardy they could get into if a person who has publicly vocalized a negative bias about women engineers then evaluates the women engineers he works with.

Except that he heavily qualifies his critique in the memo:
"Note, Iím not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these
differences are ďjust.Ē Iím simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men
and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why
we donít see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences
are small and thereís significant overlap between men and women, so you canít say anything
about an individual given these population level distributions."

So there isn't an indication he would judge women any women with a negative bias.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 08:28:00 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 08:37:23 AM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 08:38:28 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 08:39:43 AM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 08:43:30 AM
This is a much better response than I have time to craft:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788

Basically: the tools that the original memo attributes to women (empathy, cooperation, teamwork etc.) are the real tools of engineering.  Competing, within a workplace, is not a real thing.  In addition, how could a manager at google ever assign this guy a group to work in, especially with women in it?

Toque.

First line of said article is already mischaracterizing the original memo, good start:
"You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, itís just not worth it."

Despite the memo actually arguing for ways to make the job more attractive to more women.

Then proceeds to say hey I'm not actually going to argue the citations he provided that I'm saying are wrong wrong:
"(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender."

"1. Iím not going to spend any length of time on (1); if anyone wishes to provide details as to how nearly every statement about gender in that entire document is actively incorrect,Ļ and flies directly in the face of all research done in the field for decades, they should go for it. But I am neither a biologist, a psychologist, nor a sociologist, so Iíll leave that to someone else."

So he is saying the memo writer is wrong, but isn't actually interested in determining why. So either he hasn't looked in to it and has no leg to stand on or he knows he is wrong so he isn't going to attempt to address it in which case it's just a big case of personal PR for the writer.

What he's saying is that, while the original writer is wrong in the way he characterizes the nature vs. nurture of gender, that is not the subject of his response.  His response is about how the original writer mischaracterizes engineering and software design.  Basically, the "female" qualities the original writer thinks the industry should adapt to ... these are actually the qualities that real engineers need in order to do their real job: solving problems.  The fact that he doesn't understand this means he's either very junior, or very bad at engineering.

It's also important to note that the way Demore characterizes "making the job better for women" relies on stereotypes drawn from a) the 1950s and b) evo psych papers trying to make us into the 1950s.  He's not really trying to make the workplace fit better for women.  He's trying to pigeonhole women as non-go-getting, reluctant-working-moms and that's one of his real problems.  Any "adaptations" made in this regard come off as chauvinist and ridiculous.  There's no particular to argue point by point with a person who talks about women that way.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 08:48:12 AM
This is a much better response than I have time to craft:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e3773ed1788

Basically: the tools that the original memo attributes to women (empathy, cooperation, teamwork etc.) are the real tools of engineering.  Competing, within a workplace, is not a real thing.  In addition, how could a manager at google ever assign this guy a group to work in, especially with women in it?

Toque.

First line of said article is already mischaracterizing the original memo, good start:
"You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, itís just not worth it."

Despite the memo actually arguing for ways to make the job more attractive to more women.

Then proceeds to say hey I'm not actually going to argue the citations he provided that I'm saying are wrong wrong:
"(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender."

"1. Iím not going to spend any length of time on (1); if anyone wishes to provide details as to how nearly every statement about gender in that entire document is actively incorrect,Ļ and flies directly in the face of all research done in the field for decades, they should go for it. But I am neither a biologist, a psychologist, nor a sociologist, so Iíll leave that to someone else."

So he is saying the memo writer is wrong, but isn't actually interested in determining why. So either he hasn't looked in to it and has no leg to stand on or he knows he is wrong so he isn't going to attempt to address it in which case it's just a big case of personal PR for the writer.

What he's saying is that, while the original writer is wrong in the way he characterizes the nature vs. nurture of gender, that is not the subject of his response.  His response is about how the original writer mischaracterizes engineering and software design.  Basically, the "female" qualities the original writer thinks the industry should adapt to ... these are actually the qualities that real engineers need in order to do their real job: solving problems.  The fact that he doesn't understand this means he's either very junior, or very bad at engineering.

It's also important to note that the way Demore characterizes "making the job better for women" relies on stereotypes drawn from a) the 1950s and b) evo psych papers trying to make us into the 1950s.  He's not really trying to make the workplace fit better for women.  He's trying to pigeonhole women as non-go-getting, reluctant-working-moms and that's one of his real problems.  Any "adaptations" made in this regard come off as chauvinist and ridiculous.  There's no particular to argue point by point with a person who talks about women that way.

Toque.

They come of as chauvinist and ridiculous yet no one here seems to be able to argue the actual research he has used as sources for his memo and instead choose to attack what his motives according to their psychic abilities. We all agree it is hilarious when instead of accepting the science on climate change many conservatives get rather emotional about the situation instead. Seems that many progressives feel the same way when their sacred cows are being slaughtered.

I'll also include a link to a version of the memo that hasn't conveniently been edited to exclude inconvenient things like sources:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 08:52:15 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men. 
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 08:59:01 AM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.

The difference here is that a woman experiences being a female and all the fucked up sexist impacts of living in a patriarchal society her whole life. She can't escape from them. A black person experiences the fucked up racism of our society their whole life -- again, it's inescapable.

But a conservative has chosen their viewpoints. There's no "protected class" of conservative because conservatives are not systemically oppressed in our society. I mean, if someone voted for Donald Trump, they will have lost the respect of some folks in this country (like me), but they're not denied basic rights like women and black people have been all throughout American history.

This is why when people talk about how victimized Christians are, or how white people are suffering from "reverse racism," they sound like such dipshits. Having to accommodate non-Christians or non-white people is NOT the same thing as being oppressed by systemic racism or sexism your whole life.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:01:54 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men.

Actually men are seen as less trustworthy and inherently more likely to be a danger. More unsourced assertions abound.

There are sex differences as early as 6 months. I doubt the babies have been acculturated to see women as interested in systemizing and more towards the social.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766397/
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:04:16 AM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.

The difference here is that a woman experiences being a female and all the fucked up sexist impacts of living in a patriarchal society her whole life. She can't escape from them. A black person experiences the fucked up racism of our society their whole life -- again, it's inescapable.

But a conservative has chosen their viewpoints. There's no "protected class" of conservative because conservatives are not systemically oppressed in our society. I mean, if someone voted for Donald Trump, they will have lost the respect of some folks in this country (like me), but they're not denied basic rights like women and black people have been all throughout American history.

This is why when people talk about how victimized Christians are, or how white people are suffering from "reverse racism," they sound like such dipshits. Having to accommodate non-Christians or non-white people is NOT the same thing as being oppressed by systemic racism or sexism your whole life.

Ah yeah, those muslims that say they are victimized, discriminated against for their beliefs are such dipshits. They could just change their chosen viewpoint. /s

Also which rights are women legally denied in the US today that men do have?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:09:34 AM
https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.

How is he not qualified? From the description he is more qualified to speak on this than just about anyone here.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 09:10:31 AM
Speaking as a software engineer myself, I don't think I've once seen a fully-specified set of requirements for a project I've had to work on. I always have to make a few assumptions about things not explicitly listed in the requirements in order to write my code. If I'm lucky, either I or the person reviewing my code will recognize that I've made such an assumption, and will call that out to the PM types for clarification if the assumption seems at all likely to be contrary to the intended project deliverables. Even better is if the gaps in the requirements can be called out before I start typing any code into the computer. Diversity helps here. The more different eyes you can put on things before you go too far down a wrong path, the better.

Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.

The difference here is that a woman experiences being a female and all the fucked up sexist impacts of living in a patriarchal society her whole life. She can't escape from them. A black person experiences the fucked up racism of our society their whole life -- again, it's inescapable.

But a conservative has chosen their viewpoints. There's no "protected class" of conservative because conservatives are not systemically oppressed in our society. I mean, if someone voted for Donald Trump, they will have lost the respect of some folks in this country (like me), but they're not denied basic rights like women and black people have been all throughout American history.

This is why when people talk about how victimized Christians are, or how white people are suffering from "reverse racism," they sound like such dipshits. Having to accommodate non-Christians or non-white people is NOT the same thing as being oppressed by systemic racism or sexism your whole life.

Ah yeah, those muslims that say they are victimized, discriminated against for their beliefs are such dipshits. They could just change their chosen viewpoint.

Also which rights are women legally denied in the US today that men do have?

Anti-Muslim sentiment in this country is more about racism and xenophobia than it is about the actual belief system. If you can't tell someone is a Muslim without looking at them, then there's no way of discriminating against them or not.

And if you think everything boils down to what's legal and what's not, this this clearly is too subtle a discussion for you to participate in usefully.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 09:10:35 AM

They come of as chauvinist and ridiculous yet no one here seems to be able to argue the actual research he has used as sources for his memo and instead choose to attack what his motives according to their psychic abilities. We all agree it is hilarious when instead of accepting the science on climate change many conservatives get rather emotional about the situation instead. Seems that many progressives feel the same way when their sacred cows are being slaughtered.

I'll also include a link to a version of the memo that hasn't conveniently been edited to exclude inconvenient things like sources:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

Ugh.  They come off as chauvinist and ridiculous because his sources are weak.  Here's one of them:

http://quillette.com/2017/07/15/time-stop-worrying-first-world-gender-gaps/

Quote
However, between 2000 and 2015, 31 per cent of applicants for the jobs were from women. Based on these numbers it would be impossible to argue that sexist hiring practices are the cause of the gender imbalance in research chairs. Fewer women hold research chair positions because fewer women apply; itís that simple.

Come on.  That's not a source.  That's a ridiculous opinion piece that acts likes all of the a priori sexism in our society is irrelevant and that if women aren't already there, they don't deserve to be.

His evidence for this statement:
Quote
For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.
is this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5068300/

All that link contains is an abstract for a study in which men (college-aged white men?) were injected with testosterone and had some interesting aggressive and non-aggressive behaviours because of it.  What does that have to do with the statement he's allegedly supporting - that there are biological origins for status in men and beauty in women?

There are similar studies for creating testosterone bumps in women that show that they start caring about status too, via reciprocation.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201401/testosterone-trust-and-social-status

His "War on Science" statement, indicating the left is anti-science, contains a link alleging that GMO opposition is from the left
https://www.city-journal.org/html/real-war-science-14782.html

However, when we actually look at polls, we find that anti-GMO and anti-vaccine sentiment is statistically even across the political spectrum:
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/left-science-gmo-vaccines/

Do we need to do this with every link he posts?  No, I think not.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Wexler on August 09, 2017, 09:13:12 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even a flighty and emotional woman)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 09:16:28 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 09:18:12 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men.

Actually men are seen as less trustworthy and inherently more likely to be a danger. More unsourced assertions abound.

There are sex differences as early as 6 months. I doubt the babies have been acculturated to see women as interested in systemizing and more towards the social.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766397/

Definitely makes sense to extrapolate about all human beings based on a study of fewer than 100 people, sure.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:19:39 AM

http://quillette.com/2017/07/15/time-stop-worrying-first-world-gender-gaps/

Quote
However, between 2000 and 2015, 31 per cent of applicants for the jobs were from women. Based on these numbers it would be impossible to argue that sexist hiring practices are the cause of the gender imbalance in research chairs. Fewer women hold research chair positions because fewer women apply; itís that simple.

Come on.  That's not a source.  That's a ridiculous opinion piece that acts likes all of the a priori sexism in our society is irrelevant and that if women aren't already there, they don't deserve to be.

His evidence for this statement:
Quote
For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.
is this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5068300/

All that link contains is an abstract for a study in which men (college-aged white men?) were injected with testosterone and had some interesting aggressive and non-aggressive behaviours because of it.  What does that have to do with the statement he's allegedly supporting - that there are biological origins for status in men and beauty in women?

There are similar studies for creating testosterone bumps in women that show that they start caring about status too, via reciprocation.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201401/testosterone-trust-and-social-status

So you agree with him? Increased testosterone leads to increased status seeking behavior both in men and women leading to the logical conclusion that the gender naturally producing more testosterone is in general going to be the one displaying more status seeking behavior which is likely to lead to an imbalance between these two genders when it comes to high status achievement. Doesn't mean there aren't women that can't do it. But does mean that statistically they have a lower probability of it.


His "War on Science" statement, indicating the left is anti-science, contains a link alleging that GMO opposition is from the left
https://www.city-journal.org/html/real-war-science-14782.html

However, when we actually look at polls, we find that anti-GMO and anti-vaccine sentiment is statistically even across the political spectrum:
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/left-science-gmo-vaccines/

Do we need to do this with every link he posts?  No, I think not.

I would agree that anti-vaccine bias is pretty even across the political spectrum, but I wouldn't agree on the anti-GMO part. On the anti-GMO argument mother jones uses a survey with data predominantly gathered in 2006(a time where GMOs were barely a part of the wider political discussion), because that is supposedly relevant to the political positions on GMOs in 2017.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Wexler on August 09, 2017, 09:20:07 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY

+1 (I obviously needed a /s on that statement, especially in this thread)
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:20:29 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men.

Actually men are seen as less trustworthy and inherently more likely to be a danger. More unsourced assertions abound.

There are sex differences as early as 6 months. I doubt the babies have been acculturated to see women as interested in systemizing and more towards the social.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766397/

Definitely makes sense to extrapolate about all human beings based on a study of fewer than 100 people, sure.

Definitely makes sense to extrapolate from no data at all, sure.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 09, 2017, 09:22:04 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even a flighty and emotional woman)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

Could be that he's interested in a career in punditry/writing/podcasting media type work.  If this stunt was meant to launch his transition, things went about as good as they could have for him.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 09:22:48 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY

+1 (I obviously needed a /s on that statement, especially in this thread)

I agree with your point, btw. Even if this dude were right -- which I am pretty sure he's not, in any way at all -- it's pretty stupid to have blown up his job about this.

Also, just personally, I am not inclined to give the opinions of very young and inexperienced men much weight when they are talking about shit they have not lived and clearly have not even discussed with people who HAVE lived it.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:34:29 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY

+1 (I obviously needed a /s on that statement, especially in this thread)

I agree with your point, btw. Even if this dude were right -- which I am pretty sure he's not, in any way at all -- it's pretty stupid to have blown up his job about this.

Also, just personally, I am not inclined to give the opinions of very young and inexperienced men much weight when they are talking about shit they have not lived and clearly have not even discussed with people who HAVE lived it.

I tend to give young inexperienced man with a PhD and sources more weight than anecdote that aren't being backed up by statistics and research.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Wexler on August 09, 2017, 09:37:52 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even a flighty and emotional woman)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

Could be that he's interested in a career in punditry/writing/podcasting media type work.  If this stunt was meant to launch his transition, things went about as good as they could have for him.

It's got to be tempting, right?  There's so much money in right wing media, and it's the most loyal, rabid, and gullible audience on earth. Even more tempting, you can peddle bullshit about the president faking his birth certificate and maybe get elected president yourself. 
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 09:42:24 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY

+1 (I obviously needed a /s on that statement, especially in this thread)

I agree with your point, btw. Even if this dude were right -- which I am pretty sure he's not, in any way at all -- it's pretty stupid to have blown up his job about this.

Also, just personally, I am not inclined to give the opinions of very young and inexperienced men much weight when they are talking about shit they have not lived and clearly have not even discussed with people who HAVE lived it.

I tend to give young inexperienced man with a PhD and sources more weight than anecdote that aren't being backed up by statistics and research.

FrugalToque has already pointed out that many/most/all of his "sources" are bullshit.

And unless that PhD is in gender studies or some other field that's relevant to the question at hand, why would it be relevant at all?

Social sciences and cultural studies often rely upon qualitative as well as quantitative analyses. This dude isn't equipped to handle the topics that he's popping off about. Maybe if he had talked to some actual women at some point, he'd have a better understanding.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:46:05 AM
Can you imagine being 23 years old and realizing that the CEO of the big deal company you work for had to cut short his family vacation to come back and address your fuckup?  Regardless of whether you agree or don't agree with any of the points he made, I think his judgment is pretty piss poor.  Every rational person in the workplace (even women, who are often seen as flighty and emotional when they are expressing the same level of passion as men)  has to learn how to pick their battles and not express every stray thought, particularly not in a way that this guy did.   Everyone knows an asshole client or boss, and even if you'd be 1000% correct in pointing out their various flaws and the ways they have fucked various things up, it's still a stupid thing to do and would create more chaos than it's worth.  That's maturity-and it's a pretty damn good metric for evaluating employees in any discipline. If you had a choice between a coder who is a 9.3 and a 9, but the 9.3 is going to rain down shit on your company's reputation because he's too whatever (arrogant? clueless?) to think through consequences, then the choice is clear.  Particularly for a company like Google that, in reality, has its pick of an abundance of 9.3 coders.

The MMM lesson is: make sure you have FU money before you post an anonymous screed on your company share site.

FTFY

+1 (I obviously needed a /s on that statement, especially in this thread)

I agree with your point, btw. Even if this dude were right -- which I am pretty sure he's not, in any way at all -- it's pretty stupid to have blown up his job about this.

Also, just personally, I am not inclined to give the opinions of very young and inexperienced men much weight when they are talking about shit they have not lived and clearly have not even discussed with people who HAVE lived it.

I tend to give young inexperienced man with a PhD and sources more weight than anecdote that aren't being backed up by statistics and research.

FrugalToque has already pointed out that many/most/all of his "sources" are bullshit.

And unless that PhD is in gender studies or some other field that's relevant to the question at hand, why would it be relevant at all?

Social sciences and cultural studies often rely upon qualitative as well as quantitative analyses. This dude isn't equipped to handle the topics that he's popping off about. Maybe if he had talked to some actual women at some point, he'd have a better understanding.

Actually he has yet to succeed at showing any of his "sources" are bullshit. The most I will grant him is that the idea that anti-vaccine is a predominantly left leaning belief is incorrect.

His PhD is in systems biology and actually does look at biological systems all the way up to the species level. I think you aren't equipped to handle the topics since you have asserted one thing after another without backing any of it up not actually discrediting any of his sources.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: SisterX on August 09, 2017, 09:46:36 AM
Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.

So, women and men are inherently biologically different in vastly greater ways than any of us are giving credit for, but when that goes against your arguments suddenly it's a "superficial factor" to diversity? Dude, get your arguments straight. You're all over the place.

Also, why is a lack of status seeking seen as a bad thing by you? Women are socialized (and, in your worldview, biologically programmed) to seek a greater consensus and accommodation. That's a good thing, in life and in business. Status seeking leads to all kinds of shitty people and behaviors (think of celebrities who've tried to show off how great they are and just come away looking like assholes), so why would companies value that more than they would the "female" traits of sharing and corroboration? Why on earth would testosterone's status-seeking boost make men any better or more suited to being engineers than women are? If the point is to design and create a product that's beneficial and useful (and thus, bought) by the most number of people, having women in places where they can influence that, all along the design spectrum, can only be a good thing.

You're still not making any valid points as to why this author is right. I can also say that, as a working woman, he made not one point that would make working at Google, or any other company, seem better to me. Not one. So your argument that he's trying to be more accommodating to his female coworkers, not patronizing, is quite false.

See also: the responses of every other woman in this thread. None of them support your position, and for good reason. Do you not realize what group you're talking to? These forums skew very heavily toward tech workers (as evidenced by several polls people have created) and, I would venture a guess, to very smart and driven people. That goes for the women as well as the men. So maybe arguing this point in here is a little silly? You're insulting quite a few women in tech who are, I'm sorry to say, at least as smart as you are and clearly understand the world of business better than you do.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 09:50:51 AM
Except that a large part of his memo is saying google doesn't allow for different points of view. They want diversity of superficial factors, but the moment someone doesn't agree with their point of view they are out of the door.

So, women and men are inherently biologically different in vastly greater ways than any of us are giving credit for, but when that goes against your arguments suddenly it's a "superficial factor" to diversity? Dude, get your arguments straight. You're all over the place.

Also, why is a lack of status seeking seen as a bad thing by you? Women are socialized (and, in your worldview, biologically programmed) to seek a greater consensus and accommodation. That's a good thing, in life and in business. Status seeking leads to all kinds of shitty people and behaviors (think of celebrities who've tried to show off how great they are and just come away looking like assholes), so why would companies value that more than they would the "female" traits of sharing and corroboration? Why on earth would testosterone's status-seeking boost make men any better or more suited to being engineers than women are? If the point is to design and create a product that's beneficial and useful (and thus, bought) by the most number of people, having women in places where they can influence that, all along the design spectrum, can only be a good thing.

You're still not making any valid points as to why this author is right. I can also say that, as a working woman, he made not one point that would make working at Google, or any other company, seem better to me. Not one. So your argument that he's trying to be more accommodating to his female coworkers, not patronizing, is quite false.

See also: the responses of every other woman in this thread. None of them support your position, and for good reason. Do you not realize what group you're talking to? These forums skew very heavily toward tech workers (as evidenced by several polls people have created) and, I would venture a guess, to very smart and driven people. That goes for the women as well as the men. So maybe arguing this point in here is a little silly? You're insulting quite a few women in tech who are, I'm sorry to say, at least as smart as you are and clearly understand the world of business better than you do.

This shows your lack of a grasp on what he is talking about when I say it is a superficial factor there I am talking on an individual level of analysis. When I am talking about the difference it is when generalized across a population. He actually addresses this in the memo and I have brought this up before:

Except that he heavily qualifies his critique in the memo:
"Note, Iím not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these
differences are ďjust.Ē Iím simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men
and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why
we donít see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences
are small and thereís significant overlap between men and women, so you canít say anything
about an individual given these population level distributions."

So there isn't an indication he would judge women any women with a negative bias.

Also nice job straw manning both me and the memos position on this. It isn't saying less status seeking behavior is bad. You are inferring this and it more likely shows a bias in your mind set. However it can explain why we see a difference in outcomes when generalized across the population.

It doesn't say it is better, it means that if a job is high status like software engineers at google. Men are more likely to strive to achieve this position due to the higher level of status seeking.

Also you mention you may not be representative of the wider population, yet argue that you don't feel his suggestions would make it more appealing to you. Now who is in need of getting their arguments straight?

At no point does the memo writer or I say that women aren't capable of being in these positions or that they shouldn't be. It's the difference between explaining something and prescribing something. The memo writer isn't asserting that google shouldn't get women to join, but that he feels google is going about it the wrong way.

If you are insulted by these points I have to question whether the points are touching on some source of insecurity.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FINate on August 09, 2017, 09:59:42 AM
2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

That's a bit much. As someone who is center-right and attended an extremely liberal university I can say that the left can indeed alienate people with its intolerance. The problem is when they truncate substantive discussion and demand ideological purity. I personally experienced this many times over will comments such as "how stupid can you be to vote for X?" - a conversation stopper - rather than asking questions to understand another person's POV. Another example of this are the recent demonstrations to prevent certain people from giving talks on campus. I don't necessarily agree with these speakers but it indicates something is very wrong in our universities if people are so afraid of hearing controversial ideas.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: A Definite Beta Guy on August 09, 2017, 10:10:13 AM
2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

That's a bit much. As someone who is center-right and attended an extremely liberal university I can say that the left can indeed alienate people with its intolerance. The problem is when they truncate substantive discussion and demand ideological purity. I personally experienced this many times over will comments such as "how stupid can you be to vote for X?" - a conversation stopper - rather than asking questions to understand another person's POV. Another example of this are the recent demonstrations to prevent certain people from giving talks on campus. I don't necessarily agree with these speakers but it indicates something is very wrong in our universities if people are so afraid of hearing controversial ideas.

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 10:24:44 AM
2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

That's a bit much. As someone who is center-right and attended an extremely liberal university I can say that the left can indeed alienate people with its intolerance. The problem is when they truncate substantive discussion and demand ideological purity. I personally experienced this many times over will comments such as "how stupid can you be to vote for X?" - a conversation stopper - rather than asking questions to understand another person's POV. Another example of this are the recent demonstrations to prevent certain people from giving talks on campus. I don't necessarily agree with these speakers but it indicates something is very wrong in our universities if people are so afraid of hearing controversial ideas.

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 10:39:18 AM
2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

That's a bit much. As someone who is center-right and attended an extremely liberal university I can say that the left can indeed alienate people with its intolerance. The problem is when they truncate substantive discussion and demand ideological purity. I personally experienced this many times over will comments such as "how stupid can you be to vote for X?" - a conversation stopper - rather than asking questions to understand another person's POV. Another example of this are the recent demonstrations to prevent certain people from giving talks on campus. I don't necessarily agree with these speakers but it indicates something is very wrong in our universities if people are so afraid of hearing controversial ideas.

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?

When people use accusations of moral deficit rather than argue the actual points brought up how could that not be seen as an intellectual failing?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: MDM on August 09, 2017, 10:42:45 AM
I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended.
...
But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.
When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?
Are you claiming the Google memo writer is misogynistic and racist?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FINate on August 09, 2017, 10:46:12 AM
2.  Stop alienating conservatives.
I see.  I think this is the real "problem" from his point of view.  Unfortunately, I've been around since the 80s, when Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi" and people complained about "reverse sexism".  The language hasn't really changed, and the arguments are no better now than they were then.  (And I think we all agree women were treated poorly then?  And that nay-sayers back then were also blaming either genetics or women's choices?)
What really bothers him is that his "conservative" viewpoints aren't given the privilege they get in other spaces, or other times.

That's a bit much. As someone who is center-right and attended an extremely liberal university I can say that the left can indeed alienate people with its intolerance. The problem is when they truncate substantive discussion and demand ideological purity. I personally experienced this many times over will comments such as "how stupid can you be to vote for X?" - a conversation stopper - rather than asking questions to understand another person's POV. Another example of this are the recent demonstrations to prevent certain people from giving talks on campus. I don't necessarily agree with these speakers but it indicates something is very wrong in our universities if people are so afraid of hearing controversial ideas.

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?

The real question is what do you do with that perceived moral failing?

Too often this means people get dismissed out of hand. They are bad, so we don't want to hear them speak, they are to be marginalized and silenced ("alienated"). This prevents dialog and increases polarization and actually increases the power of their message, since it provides publicity and people naturally wonder what they have to say that's so dangerous.

Let them speak. Get to know people who have different POVs. Ask sincere questions to understand why they believe what they do. Build empathy even if you don't agree with them. Even if no opinions are changed you'll have a better understanding of the "other side."
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 09, 2017, 10:46:42 AM
Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Hahaha, you're a joke, you don't know what you're talking about. AI doesn't show racism because researchers are biased, it shows racism because that's what naturally follows from the data to get the highest predicitive accuracy. I work with a team in a big tech company dedicated specifically to understanding bias in machine learning, let's just say that bias is in the data, and it's very difficult to eliminate bias without sacrificing performance of the model. Heck, it's even hard to define bias in that framework in the first place, and playing with that data in the long run just shows you how full of shit and PC people like you are.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 10:48:18 AM
https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.

How is he not qualified? From the description he is more qualified to speak on this than just about anyone here.

This is an error in attribution, so I will clarify, even if only to repeat what I wrote:

1.  The definition of systems biology tells us that he is not necessarily qualified to comment on human behaviour. 
Not necessarily.  Those were my words.
His work may have been at any "system" level and may not be applicable to understanding humans beings.

2.  His acceptance of "evolutionary psychology" in the phrase:
"Theyíre exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective"
indicates that he is not qualified to comment on human behaviour.  Evo psych is fairly random field involving a lot of pop psych mixed with 1950s mores and a few good studies.
You can tell by the things he's attributing that he's taking the worst of the field.
"Women are more interested in people than things"
"Women are more cooperative"
"Women look for more work-life balance"

I mean, if men were the hunters, wouldn't they be better at cooperating while out on the hunt?  While the women were at home, competing to see who could collect the most berries? (Or whatever the current evo psych fad is.)  If we were having this discussion 15 years ago, it would be about how male workplaces have better cooperation because we're the hunters, and women are always bickering with each other because something-mumble-something-caveman.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: retiringearly on August 09, 2017, 10:56:38 AM

So the question is, has the liberal diversity/feminism rhetoric gone too far (or do a significant amount of people think it has), and if so, how does a big company respond to it?

For the first question - I think a significant portion of the US population thinks the liberal diversity rhetoric has gone too far.  That is part of the reason Donald Trump was elected.

For the second question, I think companies have to play along with the diversity initiative whether they believe in it or not.   It is far too easy to be labelled as "racist" in today's society.  Companies don't need that headache.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 10:59:42 AM
https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.

How is he not qualified? From the description he is more qualified to speak on this than just about anyone here.

This is an error in attribution, so I will clarify, even if only to repeat what I wrote:

1.  The definition of systems biology tells us that he is not necessarily qualified to comment on human behaviour. 
Not necessarily.  Those were my words.
His work may have been at any "system" level and may not be applicable to understanding humans beings.

2.  His acceptance of "evolutionary psychology" in the phrase:
"Theyíre exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective"
indicates that he is not qualified to comment on human behaviour.  Evo psych is fairly random field involving a lot of pop psych mixed with 1950s mores and a few good studies.
You can tell by the things he's attributing that he's taking the worst of the field.
"Women are more interested in people than things"
"Women are more cooperative"
"Women look for more work-life balance"

I mean, if men were the hunters, wouldn't they be better at cooperating while out on the hunt?  While the women were at home, competing to see who could collect the most berries? (Or whatever the current evo psych fad is.)  If we were having this discussion 15 years ago, it would be about how male workplaces have better cooperation because we're the hunters, and women are always bickering with each other because something-mumble-something-caveman.

Toque.

I would say even if he didn't specialize in the species level systems, which is simply an assumption on your part, they would still be covering the basics of the field for everyone regardless of specialization and have been exposed to others that were partaking in that specialization making him more qualified than the vast majority that have either no degree or a completely unrelated degree.

You are again putting words in everyones mouths and trying to read some magical subtext about what people "really" believe. At the same time you are making assertions you aren't backing up. You say you can read between the lines and that he is taking the worst of field without proof that the things you believe he is taking are wrong or that those are actually the things he is taking from.

Any contribution you might have made to the discussion has been wasted by your clear bias in trying to discredit any notion that anything said in the memo might be true rather than genuinely engaging with it. Your mocking demeanor with your "mumble" comments belies your willingness to engage with any form of sincerity. I'm going to start ignoring your responses if they continue to be speculation about the authors thoughts/motivations rather than actually arguing his points.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 11:11:22 AM
https://sysbio.med.harvard.edu/

"Systems biology is the study of systems of biological components, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. Living systems are dynamic and complex, and their behavior may be hard to predict from the properties of individual parts. To study them, we use quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components, systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Systems problems are emerging as central to all areas of biology and medicine."

That doesn't necessarily qualify him to comment on human behaviour.  This is clearly demonstrated by his use of the term "evolutionary psychology", a branch of research which is basically regarded as nonsense by actual evolutionary biologists.  For the most part, it's people trying to demonstrate that the mores of the era from the Paleolithic to the Idealized 1950s are genetically locked into our brains.  When you read that "science says beards are sexy" in some magazine?  That's evo psych.  It's not well respected, despite the media hype it gets.  Yet many of his opinions clearly have their roots in the latest "evo psych" output.

As an example, the fact that the gentleman who wrote the memo refers to evo psych, and then uses ideas like "giving women part time work because they care about work-life balance" shows that he's missing the point.  The social push for women to have "work-life balance", more so than men, is the *cause* of the problem.  We rarely ask a man how he balances work and a family, but we ask women all the time.  That's something our society does to women, and almost all societies have done to women.

Yet, mysteriously, sometime in the 1950s, the universal, biological fact that women couldn't do math, or couldn't handle the stress of being heart surgeons, went away.  But, before that, it was a universal fact across human cultures that -=mumble mumble hunting spatial awareness=- women couldn't handle numbers and three dimensional thinking.

I don't find his arguments compelling.  No more compelling than the exact same arguments made by radio talk show hosts in the 1980s.  No more compelling than the 18th and 19th century arguments that women were crazy and unreliable because their uteri wandered around their bodies and messed them up.

Toque.

How is he not qualified? From the description he is more qualified to speak on this than just about anyone here.

This is an error in attribution, so I will clarify, even if only to repeat what I wrote:

1.  The definition of systems biology tells us that he is not necessarily qualified to comment on human behaviour. 
Not necessarily.  Those were my words.
His work may have been at any "system" level and may not be applicable to understanding humans beings.

2.  His acceptance of "evolutionary psychology" in the phrase:
"Theyíre exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective"
indicates that he is not qualified to comment on human behaviour.  Evo psych is fairly random field involving a lot of pop psych mixed with 1950s mores and a few good studies.
You can tell by the things he's attributing that he's taking the worst of the field.
"Women are more interested in people than things"
"Women are more cooperative"
"Women look for more work-life balance"

I mean, if men were the hunters, wouldn't they be better at cooperating while out on the hunt?  While the women were at home, competing to see who could collect the most berries? (Or whatever the current evo psych fad is.)  If we were having this discussion 15 years ago, it would be about how male workplaces have better cooperation because we're the hunters, and women are always bickering with each other because something-mumble-something-caveman.

Toque.

I would say even if he didn't specialize in the species level systems, which is simply an assumption on your part, they would still be covering the basics of the field for everyone regardless of specialization and have been exposed to others that were partaking in that specialization making him more qualified than the vast majority that have either no degree or a completely unrelated degree.

You are again putting words in everyones mouths and trying to read some magical subtext about what people "really" believe. At the same time you are making assertions you aren't backing up. You say you can read between the lines and that he is taking the worst of field without proof that the things you believe he is taking are wrong or that those are actually the things he is taking from.

Any contribution you might have made to the discussion has been wasted by your clear bias in trying to discredit any notion that anything said in the memo might be true rather than genuinely engaging with it. Your mocking demeanor with your "mumble" comments belies your willingness to engage with any form of sincerity. I'm going to start ignoring your responses if they continue to be speculation about the authors thoughts/motivations rather than actually arguing his points.

What are you talking about?

I argued his points.

I demonstrated that his links don't actually go with his comments.  He links to opinions pieces and one unrelated study involving testosterone when he was trying to make a point that "men are biologically wired for status, women for beauty."  The linked study didn't even mention women OR beauty.

Second, there was no "assumption on my part" that his degree was irrelevant.  Again, I will remind you of what I said.  His degree is "not necessarily" relevant.

Did you get that this time?  Do I need to put "not necessarily" in all caps?

What gives him the lie is that he's using current beliefs, of certain people, about how life was in the era of "Paleolithic through 1950" to decide what women are genetically like today.  This is not valid.  If you feel that women are genetically unsuited to being competitive, or that men are less suited for cooperation than women, please post whichever link of his you think is appropriate to support this thesis.  I can't find it in any of the links he posted.

It is not sufficient to say "he posted some links" and expect all of us to go through all of the nonsense, opinion pieces and irrelevant "supporting evidence" to find out what you're talking about.

Toque.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 11:23:25 AM
Wrong again. In a big company, influencing product decisions is < 5% of the job of an engineer, I'd say even < 1%. If the company needs diversity of user viewpoints, they'll hire a diverse QA team (which they do), PM, UX designers, etc. They let engineers discuss products for their own motivation, but engineers have no say in the final product. Even if they hire a team of e.g. 100% Asian male engineers, the team will still perform well; in fact that's almost what happens in SV.

This pro-diversity argument is a big stretch motivated more by PC-ness than optimizing performance (which explains why it's not acted upon by big companies). The argument is very common though, everyone and their mom is parotting it.

And, it's because of folks with viewpoints like this that AIs are inheriting the sexist and racist biases of the non-diverse group of people who are creating them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals). It's not about PC-ness. It's about having people at the table with different points of view, so that different points of view can be accommodated in the product.

Hahaha, you're a joke, you don't know what you're talking about. AI doesn't show racism because researchers are biased, it shows racism because that's what naturally follows from the data to get the highest predicitive accuracy. I work with a team in a big tech company dedicated specifically to understanding bias in machine learning, let's just say that bias is in the data, and it's very difficult to eliminate bias without sacrificing performance of the model. Heck, it's even hard to define bias in that framework in the first place, and playing with that data in the long run just shows you how full of shit and PC people like you are.

There are so many unexamined assumptions in this that I hardly know where to begin.

"Bias is in the data" has been used as a justification for oppression throughout history. I suggest reading through some beginners' texts on the topic of unconscious bias -- clearly it's a topic you have no understanding of.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Tass on August 09, 2017, 11:33:26 AM

There are sex differences as early as 6 months. I doubt the babies have been acculturated to see women as interested in systemizing and more towards the social.

Source:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766397/

That's a pretty dramatic assumption, since we know that (a) treatment of infants in the first months of their lives dramatically affects their brain development (how often they're touched, how much they're spoken to, etc), and (b) that adults speak to and handle male and female infants differently.

In studies about babies preferring certain kinds of toys, it's not very hard to imagine that female infants are more often surrounded by dolls and male infants are more often surrounded by trains, and that babies prefer the toys that are familiar. But if you read beyond the first sentence of the abstract you linked, you discover that it argues: "These results challenge claims of an innate basis for sex-related preferences for toy and real stimuli preferences and suggest that sex-related preferences result from maturational and social development, which continues into adulthood."
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 11:34:38 AM
Quote from: FINate

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?

The real question is what do you do with that perceived moral failing?

Too often this means people get dismissed out of hand. They are bad, so we don't want to hear them speak, they are to be marginalized and silenced ("alienated"). This prevents dialog and increases polarization and actually increases the power of their message, since it provides publicity and people naturally wonder what they have to say that's so dangerous.

Let them speak. Get to know people who have different POVs. Ask sincere questions to understand why they believe what they do. Build empathy even if you don't agree with them. Even if no opinions are changed you'll have a better understanding of the "other side."

I know plenty of Trump supporters and even if I didn't, the media has been obsessed with talking about them and what they are upset about ever since the election. Why? Because they are mostly white dudes, so of course it must be really important to hear from them, right?

Not for me. I've heard enough. I'm much more interested in hearing from voices who haven't been the dominant ones all throughout our history. Why isn't anyone doing profiles of the millions more people who voted for HRC? Oh, because they are not white dudes, by and large, so why would that be interesting to anyone? /s

And, you know, the disagreement here is not just some intellectual exercise. I don't feel the need to empathize with people who espouse openly hateful views and who openly seek to restrict possibilities for people who aren't exactly like them.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Trump people deserve healthcare and clean water and everything else I want for me and the people I love. I'm just never going to be interested in what they have to say, because I've heard it my entire fucking life already. What they have to say is the default position of our culture -- women's bodies are public property and black people's lives don't matter. No one is confused about it!

All that being said, this is off topic so I'll stop here.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 11:38:24 AM
Quote

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?

The real question is what do you do with that perceived moral failing?

Too often this means people get dismissed out of hand. They are bad, so we don't want to hear them speak, they are to be marginalized and silenced ("alienated"). This prevents dialog and increases polarization and actually increases the power of their message, since it provides publicity and people naturally wonder what they have to say that's so dangerous.

Let them speak. Get to know people who have different POVs. Ask sincere questions to understand why they believe what they do. Build empathy even if you don't agree with them. Even if no opinions are changed you'll have a better understanding of the "other side."

I know plenty of Trump supporters and even if I didn't, the media has been obsessed with talking about them and what they are upset about ever since the election. Why? Because they are mostly white dudes, so of course it must be really important to hear from them, right?

Not for me. I've heard enough. I'm much more interested in hearing from voices who haven't been the dominant ones all throughout our history. Why isn't anyone doing profiles of the millions more people who voted for HRC? Oh, because they are not white dudes, by and large, so why would that be interesting to anyone? /s

And, you know, the disagreement here is not just some intellectual exercise. I don't feel the need to empathize with people who espouse openly hateful views and who openly seek to restrict possibilities for people who aren't exactly like them.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Trump people deserve healthcare and clean water and everything else I want for me and the people I love. I'm just never going to be interested in what they have to say, because I've heard it my entire fucking life already. What they have to say is the default position of our culture -- women's bodies are public property and black people's lives don't matter. No one is confused about it!

All that being said, this is off topic so I'll stop here.

lol no response required.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 11:48:27 AM

So the question is, has the liberal diversity/feminism rhetoric gone too far (or do a significant amount of people think it has), and if so, how does a big company respond to it?

For the first question - I think a significant portion of the US population thinks the liberal diversity rhetoric has gone too far.  That is part of the reason Donald Trump was elected.

For the second question, I think companies have to play along with the diversity initiative whether they believe in it or not.   It is far too easy to be labelled as "racist" in today's society.  Companies don't need that headache.

See, I think the reason old Donald got elected is because most white people would rather live in a totalitarian society than have to share with black people or be led by a woman. The liberal rhetoric is not the problem. The defensiveness that privileged people experience when having their unconscious biases pointed out to them is the problem.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 11:49:23 AM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men.

Actually men are seen as less trustworthy and inherently more likely to be a danger. More unsourced assertions abound.

^^ unsourced assertion alert ^^
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 09, 2017, 12:01:41 PM
Not for me. I've heard enough. I'm much more interested in hearing from voices who haven't been the dominant ones all throughout our history. Why isn't anyone doing profiles of the millions more people who voted for HRC? Oh, because they are not white dudes, by and large, so why would that be interesting to anyone? /s

People aren't doing many interviews with HRC voters because she lost the election.  How many interviews were there with McCain supporters in 08 and 09? Wouldn't have been very interesting to anyone, because he lost too.  08 was all about Obama ushering in a new era, so we wanted to hear from people who sought to bring about this new era.  Why would we want to hear from people who wanted to continue the status quo? That's basically the opposite of newsworthy. 


I don't mean to pick on you, but this knee-jerk reaction to see racism where it doesn't exist seems to fit a pattern on the left.  Kind of like the right and how they see always attacks on Christianity, regardless of how slight or constitutional.  No matter which side, it erodes credibility and distracts from what otherwise might be compelling arguments.

Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 12:13:05 PM
Not for me. I've heard enough. I'm much more interested in hearing from voices who haven't been the dominant ones all throughout our history. Why isn't anyone doing profiles of the millions more people who voted for HRC? Oh, because they are not white dudes, by and large, so why would that be interesting to anyone? /s

People aren't doing many interviews with HRC voters because she lost the election.  How many interviews were there with McCain supporters in 08 and 09? Wouldn't have been very interesting to anyone, because he lost too.  08 was all about Obama ushering in a new era, so we wanted to hear from people who sought to bring about this new era.  Why would we want to hear from people who wanted to continue the status quo? That's basically the opposite of newsworthy. 


I don't mean to pick on you, but this knee-jerk reaction to see racism where it doesn't exist seems to fit a pattern on the left.  Kind of like the right and how they see always attacks on Christianity, regardless of how slight or constitutional.  No matter which side, it erodes credibility and distracts from what otherwise might be compelling arguments.

Seeing racism where it doesn't exist isn't a thing, unless you are talking about "reverse racism." On the contrary, white people tend to NOT SEE racism where it exists, because it doesn't impact us. And because we don't see it, we think it doesn't exist, even when folks who do experience it tell us about it. It's called White Fragility, look it up. The same thing happens around sexism.

And, you know, the media was obsessed with Trump voters even before the election. Meanwhile supporters of HRC were openly harassed to the point where many of them started to keep their opinions, so they wouldn't be yelled at in person or threatened with rape on Twitter. Do you really think that misogyny has nothing to do with this?

Unconscious bias impacts much much more than most of us think. That's why it's called unconscious. And denying that these biases exist does nothing to resolve them.

Pick on me all you want! Many people on this thread don't seem to understand these concepts at all and I'm happy to explain and defend them.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 12:44:13 PM
I guess I just read it more as someone who sincerely wants to help than someone who hates women. I can see how it could be interpreted otherwise if you come with a different perspective.

But it doesn't really matter what his intent was. If I run you over with my car and it's an accident vs. intentional, it matters to the legal system but not to your actual body. Your body is just as broken regardless of my intent.

Same thing with this bozo at Google. Outside of the White House, sexism is usually not as blunt as "I hate women and girls." Much of it is wrapped up in subtly misogynistic ideas like respecting women's differences, wanting to protect women, and assuming women need help with various tasks which we may or may not need help with.

I agree with Scantee entirely. I also believe that there is literally no way to know what the biological differences are between men and women's cognition because there's so much cultural history mixed in and human brains are enormously plastic and molded by our environments and upbringing to an extent that most of us never even contemplate.

So, at this point, with the tools we have, it's not possible to separate them. The only fair position is to operate as though there are no widespread biological differences in cognitive ability, because we simply don't know.

Except he provided resources showing that it isn't as plastic as you make it out to be. Another person commenting with no actual sources disputing him out of hand rather than actually engaging with the ideas and finding a way to dispute him.

The problem is that the data he's talking about is based on population-level differences in distributions. This doesn't address native differences between men and women -- it addresses differences in the way men and women behave after they've already been acculturated to see women as less intelligent and trustworthy than men.

Actually men are seen as less trustworthy and inherently more likely to be a danger. More unsourced assertions abound.

^^ unsourced assertion alert ^^

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ellen_Garbarino/publication/223483951_The_robustness_of_trust_and_reciprocity_across_a_heterogeneous_US_population/links/56ba987708ae6a0040ae00e7.pdf

"Regarding trusting behavior, we also find that men and women of all ages trust women and older people more than men and younger people"

Glad to see you finally agree that one shouldn't take someone's assertions if they aren't backed by anything other than their opinion. Maybe you should do some more of it yourself.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 09, 2017, 12:44:54 PM
There are so many unexamined assumptions in this that I hardly know where to begin.

"Bias is in the data" has been used as a justification for oppression throughout history. I suggest reading through some beginners' texts on the topic of unconscious bias -- clearly it's a topic you have no understanding of.

Look, I did my PhD in AI/machine learning and I work personally with a team in a big tech company focused on bias in machine learning at the forefront of research, and I'm telling you that bias occurs naturally when training a model for high accuracy, and that bias is difficult to define mathematically in the first place. Whereas you're probably an old woman with an art history degree and minor in women studies working at the local library, who's just cherrypicking old texts because it makes her feel better. And you seriously think you're right?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Tass on August 09, 2017, 12:50:16 PM
Whereas you're probably an old woman with an art history degree and minor in women studies working at the local library, who's just cherrypicking old texts because it makes her feel better. And you seriously think you're right?

Gosh, sexist, elitist, AND condescending! Weren't you just arguing we shouldn't make unexamined assumptions?
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: prognastat on August 09, 2017, 12:53:13 PM
Whereas you're probably an old woman with an art history degree and minor in women studies working at the local library, who's just cherrypicking old texts because it makes her feel better. And you seriously think you're right?

Gosh, sexist, elitist, AND condescending! Weren't you just arguing we shouldn't make unexamined assumptions?

Right, because he is the one that started acting elitist and condescending. It wasn't a response geared at shutting those very behaviors by madgeylou down. Maybe you should look at your internal biases if you felt the need to speak up when he was returning in kind that which she has been doling out in just about each of her posts.

Also calling someone sexist means nothing if they haven't actually been sexist. Good job adding less than nothing to the conversation.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: gerardc on August 09, 2017, 12:55:04 PM
Gosh, sexist, elitist, AND condescending! Weren't you just arguing we shouldn't make unexamined assumptions?

I would have said "old guy" if she was a guy. Stop seeing sexism where there's just contempt.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: AnswerIs42 on August 09, 2017, 12:55:37 PM
Seeing racism where it doesn't exist isn't a thing

https://notalwaysright.com/report-card-versus-the-race-card/36394/
https://notalwaysright.com/your-claims-of-racism-go-up-in-smoke/30858/
https://notalwaysright.com/some-people-are-just-looking-to-be-oppressed/39062/
https://notalwaysright.com/about-to-commit-a-pet-hate-crime/86548/
https://notalwaysright.com/90289-2/90289/
https://notalwaysright.com/someone-will-hang/89691/
https://notalwaysright.com/no-asian-persuasion/87894/
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: tyort1 on August 09, 2017, 12:58:35 PM
Quote from: FINate

I think it's frustrating that people are misinterpreting "women and men are different" with "women can't be engineers," which I don't think many people agree with. Most people on the left seem to think everyone on the right is saying the latter, and are understandably quite offended. I'd be pretty peeved if someone said men can't be nurses, even if I think men historically haven't been nurses because it's a lower-paid occupation and associated with women.

But that's still reflective of a total lack of charity, and assuming everyone who disagrees with you must posses some sort of extreme moral failing.

When people ally themselves with and support misogynistic, racist people and causes, how could that NOT be seen as a moral failing?

The real question is what do you do with that perceived moral failing?

Too often this means people get dismissed out of hand. They are bad, so we don't want to hear them speak, they are to be marginalized and silenced ("alienated"). This prevents dialog and increases polarization and actually increases the power of their message, since it provides publicity and people naturally wonder what they have to say that's so dangerous.

Let them speak. Get to know people who have different POVs. Ask sincere questions to understand why they believe what they do. Build empathy even if you don't agree with them. Even if no opinions are changed you'll have a better understanding of the "other side."

I know plenty of Trump supporters and even if I didn't, the media has been obsessed with talking about them and what they are upset about ever since the election. Why? Because they are mostly white dudes, so of course it must be really important to hear from them, right?

Not for me. I've heard enough. I'm much more interested in hearing from voices who haven't been the dominant ones all throughout our history. Why isn't anyone doing profiles of the millions more people who voted for HRC? Oh, because they are not white dudes, by and large, so why would that be interesting to anyone? /s

And, you know, the disagreement here is not just some intellectual exercise. I don't feel the need to empathize with people who espouse openly hateful views and who openly seek to restrict possibilities for people who aren't exactly like them.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Trump people deserve healthcare and clean water and everything else I want for me and the people I love. I'm just never going to be interested in what they have to say, because I've heard it my entire fucking life already. What they have to say is the default position of our culture -- women's bodies are public property and black people's lives don't matter. No one is confused about it!

All that being said, this is off topic so I'll stop here.

Just wanted to say - you are awesome 👍
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Tass on August 09, 2017, 01:00:49 PM
Whereas you're probably an old woman with an art history degree and minor in women studies working at the local library, who's just cherrypicking old texts because it makes her feel better. And you seriously think you're right?

Gosh, sexist, elitist, AND condescending! Weren't you just arguing we shouldn't make unexamined assumptions?

Right, because he is the one that started acting elitist and condescending. It wasn't a response geared at shutting those very behaviors by madgeylou down. Maybe you should look at your internal biases if you felt the need to speak up when he was returning in kind that which she has been doling out in just about each of her posts.

Also calling someone sexist means nothing if they haven't actually been sexist. Good job adding less than nothing to the conversation.

I'll admit I haven't read every single post cause y'all are moving awfully fast. The contempt of women's studies also points to some underlying sexism but I'm glad at least we're all agreed that the comment was an elitist logical fallacy.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: J Boogie on August 09, 2017, 01:01:16 PM

Seeing racism where it doesn't exist isn't a thing, unless you are talking about "reverse racism." On the contrary, white people tend to NOT SEE racism where it exists, because it doesn't impact us. And because we don't see it, we think it doesn't exist, even when folks who do experience it tell us about it. It's called White Fragility, look it up. The same thing happens around sexism.


Clearly, you must acknowledge it is possible that someone might mistakenly chalk something up to racism when another factor is actually in play.  Many of these tragic police shootings are a good example.  Many of them involve a black man who is clearly not a threat to the officer, and many of them involve a black man who is.  I can't take anyone's views seriously if they say it's always the cop's fault or it's always the dead black man's fault.  If a person is not interested in the facts of a given situation, then I'm not interested in hearing their exercise in confirmation bias. 

Regarding Trump supporter's popularity in the media, yes they were featured prior to his victory as well.  Not because we are racist and would rather see white people express their opinions on TV, but because they are a spectacle and make entertaining TV.  John Kasich supporters were pretty white as well, but generally pretty reasonable boring people in comparison - not good TV. 

Do you really, truly think Trump supporters get airtime because most viewers are unconsciously racist and networks have explicitly or implicitly figured this out, or do you think it could be because most viewers just want sensationalism?







Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: madgeylou on August 09, 2017, 01:07:05 PM
There are so many unexamined assumptions in this that I hardly know where to begin.

"Bias is in the data" has been used as a justification for oppression throughout history. I suggest reading through some beginners' texts on the topic of unconscious bias -- clearly it's a topic you have no understanding of.

Look, I did my PhD in AI/machine learning and I work personally with a team in a big tech company focused on bias in machine learning at the forefront of research, and I'm telling you that bias occurs naturally when training a model for high accuracy, and that bias is difficult to define mathematically in the first place. Whereas you're probably an old woman with an art history degree and minor in women studies working at the local library, who's just cherrypicking old texts because it makes her feel better. And you seriously think you're right?

I'll set aside your goofy ad hominem attacks and just point out that scientists are human beings, operating out of unconscious bias as much as anyone else, not infallible fact machines. That means that even with all your scientific training, you, too, are not an infallible fact machine. You, too, are operating out of unconscious bias.

Your use of the word "naturally" in particular gives me a shiver up my spine, because throughout history up to and including NOW, "nature" has been used as a reason why women shouldn't be able to vote, why black folks should be enslaved, why Jews should be exterminated, and why gay people should be shocked into heterosexuality.

What constitutes "naturally" when we are dealing with AI anyway? It's ARTIFICIAL intelligence. And the limitations of the people creating anything show up in their creations. I don't think a PhD is required to understand that.

And I can feel you wanting to reduce my statements down to an anti-science point of view, and that's not it at all. I'm only saying that science is a human artifact, and since humans operate out of unconscious bias, it's probably a good idea for scientists to be aware of this and have a least a drop of humility about it.
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: Tass on August 09, 2017, 01:08:10 PM
I'm only saying that science is a human artifact, and since humans operate out of unconscious bias, it's probably a good idea for scientists to be aware of this and have a least a drop of humility about it.

Scientist +1
Title: Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
Post by: FrugalToque on August 09, 2017, 01:09:31 PM
Even though I try not to wear my moderator hat where I've commented, this is getting nuts and way off-topic.

Locked.