Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond

quote [ Hey, has Google fired that ignorant sexist shitball yet?
-John Scalzi (@scalzi) Aug. 7, 2017 ]

Ouch. Embarrassingly-no-humiliatingly-blown out of the water. I just want to apologize to everyone.

I am, of course apologizing to referring to the BTFO-ing of everyone who instantly dismissed James Damore's thoughtful, insightful, utterly inoffensive memo with a sneer. I am sorry that your hateful ideology keeps you from making any sort of counter argument and responding only with slurs. Did the studies he cited use sloppy methodology? Reproducible results are notoriously difficult to find in the social sciences, after all. But you'll never know if you don't even know what his argument was, or worse, mischaracterize it as misogyny.

The good news is, you can always redeem yourselves. Read Damore's actual memo, not Gizmodo's bowdlerization that clipped out the citations and graphs. For those who don't have time to read, I'm including an interview he recently did with the greatest living Canadian, Dr. Jordan Peterson. And if you still think Damore is full of shit-that's fine! Because at least you'll know what you're rejecting. But as it stands now, the memo's haters don't even have the intellectual honesty of Fred Phelps, who could at least point to a Bible verse indicating that God thinks poorly of gay people.

I welcome your downmods. I may not be the hero SE wants, but I'm the hero it needs. Because I can take it.

2017/08/08: James Damore and his Google Memo on Diversity (complete)
[SFW] [science & technology] [+3]
[by GordonGuano@6:36pmGMT]

Comments

rylex said @ 7:07pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:2]
Have you heard of the new science of phrenology?
norok said @ 7:14pm GMT on 13th Aug
You mean physiognomy?
rylex said @ 7:21pm GMT on 13th Aug
/shrug

they equate to about the same thing.
Hugh E. said @ 8:19pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:3]
Taken at face value they're similar, but head in different directions.
arrowhen said @ 9:05pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:2 Funny]
Yeah, you can't just lump them together.
midden said @ 8:01pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:2 Underrated]
I did read the entire memo when it firs hit. While I could understand and agree with some of what he was saying, it just wasn't worth the effort getting into an argument here about it.

Over the years here on SE, I've attempted several times to say, "Hey, wait a minute. Maybe X is not the awful thing everyone seems to be assuming," generally regarding issues around conservatism or religious beliefs. As much as I love SE, it definitely has some echo-chamber-ish-ness going on. Don't try to suggest that there are valid or positive aspects to religion or conservative socio-political points of view, or that people who hold those views are just as intelligent and valuable as human beings as you are. You'll usually get hammered.

So like holiday dinner conversation with certain relatives, I just don't go there.
arrowhen said @ 8:37pm GMT on 13th Aug
"As much as I love SE, it definitely has some echo-chamber-ish-ness going on."

Well, steele is about to hand the mob hotter torches and sharper pitchforks, so don't worry, things can always get worse.
norok said @ 2:55am GMT on 14th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
Seems like a microcosm of what's going on in the real world. There being only one acceptable view of events and the approved means of disseminating information are clearly more sympathetic to one side.
rylex said @ 8:49pm GMT on 13th Aug
i wonder if anyone on stormfront complains about it being an echo chamber?
arrowhen said @ 9:01pm GMT on 13th Aug
I don't think "better than stormfront" is too high of a standard to aim for.
rylex said @ 9:06pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:5 Funny]
jesus, that should be a new tagline.

Sensible Endowment: Better Than Stormfront!
midden said[1] @ 9:45pm GMT on 13th Aug
The funny thing is that I'm a pretty stereotypical East Coast liberal. It's not like I'm trying to shoot down progressive ideas.

(edit)
Just followed your link. Holy crap, I'm glad I stayed the hell out of that whole conversation.
lilmookieesquire said @ 6:55pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
The issue isn't the (soft) science, as much it was essentially saying women aren't suited for certain jobs. Inside the workplace is not the proper platform to have that kind of discussion (especially on company time).

Also, the first scientist is comparing the guy's memo to the gizmo comment section? Who gives a fuck what commenters think. It's about as relavent as what someone on SE thinks. In fact I'd probably give more credit to what someone on SE thinks.

If you're going to use a company's internal communications to critique company policy (and it's not sanctioned by a C-suite person) and the press gets ahold of it and it causes damage to the company's reputation, that's pretty standard you're going to get sacked.

My issue isn't the science (although I don't think it's right- and I think the guy is a douche-bag) the issue is how he did it and where he did it.

I think that's a symptom of creating a "university campus" styled business environment. At the end of the day, while google tries (or appears) to foster creativity and discussion, google is a business and it's open to law suits and complaints.

The guy who wrote the memo created a hostile environment and management nightmare for google and they were within their rights to sack him and he should have expected that.

I feel that, if these scientists sincerely supported him and thought he was right, they would have spoken more forcefully vs "let's compare the memo to gizmoto comments"

🤷🏻‍♀️
norok said @ 7:20pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
I distinctly recall you decrying lack of sources. Now you add "(soft)" because while a lot can be backed up; you just don't want to entertain it.

That's a true take; that it damaged the company reputation. Depending on which side of the issue is whether one is going to think that was the primary cause of his firing or if it was because he made his wrongthink public.

I'm of course on the latter. Especially with the reason given as "pushing harmful stereotypes." That's not any standard legal term I've ever heard. And why is it so hard to believe that there are people that work at C-level that are so convinced they are right that they would make a snap decision because they found someone's ideas reprehensible and knew they would receive little backlash in the current political climate?
lilmookieesquire said @ 7:55pm GMT on 13th Aug
That's a fair call. I am calling it soft for those reasons (I have a data analyst certificate and a few stats classes under my belt so I'm not totally talking out my ass- but it isn't my degree and not my profession so I'm not able to offer expert opinion to the level of these scientists (even if I frown on sociology)

Agree on second part. I'm pretty sure it was leaked to the press because someone didn't like it and they knew it would get him fired.

HR departments are a blight on humanity (sorry if anyone works in HR- I don't envy you.) but if google didn't toss this kid to the wolves there would be so many discrimination suits even I don't think google has enough resources to cover that.

I don't think the issue is even political as much as this occurred in California (google has offices everywhere) and the legal system in CA probably opens them up to a lot of workplace environment threats that they don't face elsewhere- say, if this happened in Japan.
Bruceski said @ 8:31pm GMT on 13th Aug
If my time reading Ask A Manager has taught anything it's that HR makes problems so much worse when they're part of the problem, but it's absolutely vital anyway because people are assholes to each other if given half a chance.
lilmookieesquire said @ 12:46am GMT on 14th Aug
I never read that book but I feel like I read that book.

I've literally never heard someone go to HR and be like "thank god I went through HR." I don't even think HR people like HR.
lilmookieesquire said @ 7:48pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Underrated]
And I do think this guy has a point that open debate gets ramped down with name calling.

What I used to like about SE (I still like SE but the nature of the internet has changed) was the anonymity allowed for frank discussion.

Overall this is probably a good discussion to have on a public forum, about not ramping dosidence too much (I consider that a progressive value generally but I understand quite a few people might disagree. The relevance being that free speech and certain protections against consequence((you should not be physically assaulted etc))) are important. I.e. I'm not okay with punching Nazis.

But this guy thinking he's not going to get fired over that is foolish. He's not on a college campus free-speech-safe-zone anymore. He is receiving money for his services within an entity that operates in the legal world. If google didn't fire him, they would be open to sexual discrimination lawsuits right left and center.
foobar said @ 10:45pm GMT on 13th Aug
Why are you not ok with punching Nazis? How is that at all controversial?

It's something that until very recently all red blooded Americans agreed on:



Even the ivory tower took part:

lilmookieesquire said @ 12:45am GMT on 14th Aug
I don't think punching someone ever showed anyone the error of their ways.

It leads to too much eye-for-an-eye stuff and then some other innocent person gets the ol' puncharoo. But I see the attraction of it, above.

I just think violence doesn't really solve a lot of problems. Doesn't work for police militarization. Doesn't work in war (see 2000 year old grudges). I think bonabos kind of have the right idea.

But maybe I can afford to think this way (literally).
hellboy said @ 1:57am GMT on 14th Aug [Score:2]
Violence worked for keeping the KKK out of some black neighborhoods. It worked for beating the real Nazis. It's the only thing that could. Yes, it's better to talk if there's some hope of reaching the other person. And many of these White Power Wannabes are just stupid kids who suck at life even on the Easy setting. But some of them are beyond help and as their ultimate goal is the genocide or subjugation of people different from them, violence is probably both inevitable and necessary. You put down rabid dogs.
norok said[1] @ 2:57am GMT on 14th Aug
+1 if I could.

Your text is wasted on spme though. They create the very demons they rail against to make themselves feel as they are the moral ones.
rylex said @ 1:21am GMT on 14th Aug
it's because the right took advantage of the same PC rhetoric they bitch about. They've utilized it to indoctrinate the millenial generation into believing that views based upon hatred should be tolerated in society.
norok said @ 3:00am GMT on 14th Aug
Millennials are firmly in your camp and quick to shut down anything not PC.

The next generation however, is already more conservative having witnessed all of it.
lilmookieesquire said @ 3:44am GMT on 14th Aug
Just like crack cocaine in the 80s, Avocados from latin america where turned into a cheaper more addictive substance, avocado toast. It was introduced into millennial neighborhoods. They didn't stand a chance.
norok said @ 4:35am GMT on 14th Aug
Is that why avocados are so fucking good?
lilmookieesquire said @ 6:59am GMT on 14th Aug
Just say No. rok. ha!
norok said @ 2:21pm GMT on 14th Aug
+1 Funny
mechanical contrivance said @ 3:30pm GMT on 14th Aug
If you ever run for office, that should be your campaign slogan.
norok said @ 6:19pm GMT on 14th Aug
My alignment is chaotic neutral; it would be dishonorable for me to hold a position of authority unless no one else could handle it.
rylex said @ 3:52am GMT on 18th Aug
i thought your alignment was conservative right?
mechanical contrivance said @ 3:29pm GMT on 14th Aug
I thought the next generation after millennials were still children. They haven't witnessed much.
GordonGuano said @ 5:31am GMT on 14th Aug [Score:-1 WTF]
filtered comment under your threshold
rylex said @ 6:20am GMT on 14th Aug [Score:-1]
filtered comment under your threshold
GordonGuano said @ 3:20am GMT on 18th Aug [Score:-1]
filtered comment under your threshold
mechanical contrivance said @ 3:32pm GMT on 14th Aug [Score:-1]
filtered comment under your threshold
GordonGuano said @ 3:19am GMT on 18th Aug [Score:-1]
filtered comment under your threshold
GordonGuano said @ 5:24am GMT on 14th Aug
I'm greedy; I want open debate AND name calling.
norok said @ 7:15pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
The first rebukes (on here) were "where are his sources?"

Turns out they were edited out when reposted.

It's good that he had them but a lot of that stuff was common sense.
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 8:00pm GMT on 13th Aug
For the record gizmoto is shit and editing out sources is reprehensible.

But it's reprehensible because sources are ideally vetted so that might change the outlook from "his opinion" to "at lease he documented sources and gizmoto is trying a bit of character assasonation here"). Common sense can differ depending on your surroundings.

I think the real deal killer is *how* this kid delivered the message. He could have said the same things in a much more palatable manner.

But, if I may be hypocritical to illustrate or maybe undercut my point, "computer programmers aren't eloquent, dare I say, master, debators.
C18H27NO3 said @ 11:05pm GMT on 13th Aug
I love it when conservatives complain about "liberal" media. Meanwhile, the bastion of conservative thought is about as respectable as your neighborhood thief, sexist, and bigot.
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 10:01pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Good]
This article is a fairly solid rebuttal that doesn't dismiss the memorandum. I think she teaches statistics at Stanford.

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/8/11/16130452/google-memo-women-tech-biology-sexism

Her bullet points explaining the reactions to this article

1) Fatigue (of women working in tech having their qualifications contrantly queationed)
2) Women’s resistance to the “divide and conquer” strategy
3) The author cites science about “averages.” But Google isn’t average.
4) Race (listed next to gender but without sources)
5) The author says he’s open to diversity, yet no real-world diversity-enhancing program meets his standards



lilmookieesquire said @ 12:49am GMT on 14th Aug
People are constantly queationing wamoons, ammorite pooples?
GordonGuano said @ 5:16am GMT on 14th Aug [Score:1 Insightful]
Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire could, but backwards and in heels. Of course, nobody called her a faggot for wanting to learn how to dance, either. We all have our struggles.
GordonGuano said @ 6:43pm GMT on 13th Aug
DreamJournalingFS said @ 12:35am GMT on 14th Aug
Dr. Soh claims "... seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic."
... but I notice that she does not provide a numerical range for what kind of gender-gap in STEM can be explained by "biological differences" between men and women.
GordonGuano said @ 5:18am GMT on 14th Aug
Anything less than a 1:1 demographic match is unacceptable, right? I'll start work on that right after we achieve male/female parity in workplace deaths.
hellboy said @ 7:06am GMT on 14th Aug
Which will happen right after we achieve male/female parity in sexual assault.
rapscallion said @ 2:40am GMT on 18th Aug
Already pretty close...just turn a blind eye to the female half.
hellboy said @ 7:05am GMT on 14th Aug
sezoomj said @ 11:39am GMT on 14th Aug
I disagree with the memo. Companies hire individuals not whole genders. The variance between individuals is greater than the differences between genders. The second scientist alludes to this and I think it's the fatal flaw that makes sexism wrong.

Post a comment
[note: if you are replying to a specific comment, then click the reply link on that comment instead]

You must be logged in to comment on posts.



Posts of Import
If you got logged out, log back in.
4 More Years!
SE v2 Closed BETA
First Post
Subscriptions and Things
AskSE: What do you look like?

Karma Rankings
ScoobySnacks
arrowhen
lilmookieesquire
HoZay
XregnaR