Author Topic: The Viral Internal Google Memo  (Read 7645 times)

J Boogie

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The Viral Internal Google Memo
« 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.





ixtap

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 03:45:38 PM »
Can you give some examples of the leftist agenda you have seen?

J Boogie

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #2 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.

ixtap

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 04:24:31 PM »
I asked for an example, not a screed.

bacchi

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #4 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?

robartsd

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #5 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.

seattlecyclone

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #6 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" 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.
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Sailor Sam

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #7 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

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #8 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.

golden1

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #9 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?

gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #10 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

scantee

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #11 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..

Sailor Sam

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #12 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.

Zamboni

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #13 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.

seattlecyclone

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #14 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.

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.
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gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #15 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.

seattlecyclone

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #16 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.
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gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #17 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.

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #18 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.

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #19 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.

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
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 10:51:01 PM by lost_in_the_endless_aisle »

seattlecyclone

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #20 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?
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gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #21 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.

MDM

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #22 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....


Zamboni

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #23 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.


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?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 03:33:59 AM by Zamboni »

golden1

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #24 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 

Zamboni

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #25 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

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."

lhamo

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #26 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.
Wherever you go, there you are

ooeei

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #27 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.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 06:42:45 AM by ooeei »

Paul der Krake

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #28 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.

ooeei

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #29 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.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 08:29:28 AM by ooeei »

prognastat

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #30 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

scantee

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #31 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.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #32 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.

robartsd

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #33 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" 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

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.

J Boogie

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #34 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?




ooeei

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #35 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).
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 09:36:57 AM by ooeei »

scantee

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #36 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.

prognastat

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #37 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.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 10:39:06 AM by prognastat »

gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #38 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.

ixtap

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #39 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.

prognastat

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #40 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.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 11:25:40 AM by prognastat »

scantee

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #41 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.


thesvenster

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #42 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.

J Boogie

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #43 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. 


gerardc

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #44 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.


Roboturner

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #45 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?
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prognastat

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #46 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.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #47 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.


Jrr85

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #48 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?

seattlecyclone

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Re: The Viral Internal Google Memo
« Reply #49 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.
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