back to article Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

There are a lot of theories about why human beings can, on occasion, be terrible assholes. Social psychologists have been working on the issue for a while and even have a number of useful terms. "Behavioral contagion" for example describes a strange human trait where people copy the behavior of someone they are in close …

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  1. John Gamble

    Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

    I'm looking forward to the responses to this article.

    With luck, we'll get the actual dreadful people in question responding to this, instead of their proxies.

    1. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

      >First, if there was anyone complaining to HR it was in fact Mr Damore<

      Well, obviously /someone/ complained to HR, because Mr Damore got fired.

      And yes, I did read at least that far. Since I'm not here looking for long-form articles, I was slready stretching at that point, and that bit of carelessness indicated to me that you were too.

      1. HCV

        Re: Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

        Well, obviously /someone/ complained to HR

        Or, HR reads the news.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Down voting?

      There's an unusual amount of unexpected downvoting on comments to this article, even on relatively non-contentious posts. Has some arsehole been writing a comment-bot? Or is it the dreadful people? (Nah, I'm sure they don't read El Reg)

      1. astrax

        Re: Down voting?

        Down-voting for having a different opinion is somewhat different from down-voting due to:

        1). incorrect information presented as fact

        2). going off-topic

        3). being a complete bell end

        Note that point 3 is not mutually exclusive with anything else :)

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Down voting?

          Astrix, no down voting is always because people are arseholes for not agreeing. Anyone disagreeing with a leftie is clearly an arsehole since only an arsehole could fail to have a different opinion. It's all perfectly logical and sensible and only an arsehole would disagree with what I just said.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Down voting?

        Tends to be most prolific when references to Assange are made. I am pretty sure that the Self-Righteous One has some El Reg Bot for down voting comments that might reference him in some way.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Down voting?

        probably the usual HOWLER MONKEYS. they're ganging up on their favorite people again, most likely, and slinging poo in the form of 'downvoting'

    3. el kabong

      Re: Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

      In a few cases downvoting merely reflects how poor some people are at dealing with sarcasm.

      Other times downvoting is just an easy way to punish someone who dared to have a different opinion.

      Sometimes it just tells how much of a cunt the downvoter is.

      In this case downvoting your post is just a mere exercise in common sense.

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        Joke

        Re: Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

        @el kabong

        Man (woman)! I'm offended by your excessive use of the word "downvoting!"

    4. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Headmaster

      "shaming dissenters into silence"

      Having read Damore's ten-page rant, my first observation is that his supposed "intellect" is highly suspect, given the above quote, as just one early example.

      Someone who believes he's right is disinclined to be shamed into silence, as he has no particular reason to feel shame, even if he is wrong according to his detractors, and even if those detractors represent a very loud and hostile majority.

      Moreover, no true scientist would ever feel "oppressed" by criticism, given that it's an absolutely essential part of the process of establishing fact, which scientists value far more than ego, and often even more than their own personal safety.

      Put it this way: if you are so insecure in your convictions as to be ashamed by them, then clearly you recognise that there must be something fundamentally wrong with them in the first place, or else what other reason could you possibly have to feel ashamed by them?

      The same goes for supposedly "alienating conservatives". I always find it particularly amusing when the dominant party feigns victimisation.

      Mostly, though, Damore exhibits the most astonishing hypocrisy in a diatribe that is supposedly anathema to irrational bias, but which itself is riddled with irrational bias. His presumptions about gender and political ideology are little more than ignorant generalisations at best - purely anecdotal observations that seem to be largely a matter of wishful thinking.

      I'd like to attribute his imprudence to the naivety of youth and privilege, but sadly that too would be an inaccurate generalisation, so let's just stick to the unapologetically "deindividuated" consensus that this guy is an unmitigated asshole, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "shaming dissenters into silence"

        At least James Damore got everyone talking about it - and regardless of what you think about his position, that's a good thing. OK, so he's somewhat off the rails in some areas but he's young and that's what youth does from time to time - certainly my opinions have evolved over the years and I expect that his will too.

        I think that Google made an error in firing him - dissent is important, just as diversity is important. The two go hand in hand and when we reject either one, we lose balance. I'm not surprised that Google fired him - that was to be expected - Google's not as smart as it thinks it is.

        1. Sanctimonious Prick
          Thumb Up

          Re: "shaming dissenters into silence"

          @Version 1.0

          "At least James Damore got everyone talking about it..."

          Nice post.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: "shaming dissenters into silence"

        Well that post deserves a downvote. Too many assumptions, slander and strawmen to mention. I'll mention some...

        Calling someone low intelligence because they don't agree with you.

        Calling someone a poor scientist because they fell victim to pressure on them to shut up. (except you worded it as criticism which makes it sound less harsh)

        Then there's your extraordinary hypocrisy in calling him a hypocrite.

        Yes I know the current culture allows you to indulge in the above SJW twaddle but we do see right through it.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

      John Gamble, it's interesting how each side thinks the other are dreadful people.

      There is an error here and you're in the wrong. The people you are accusing of being dreadful believe in equal opportunities for people. Where as you believe in equality of outcome as long as the dreadful people come last.

      This whole article by Christina is just her leftie ramblings stemming from the above error.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

    Basically the theory that as rich, upper class White men are at the top of the heap they are naturally superior, and should go on being at the top of the heap.

    This was the idea that lead to laws in the US allowing doctors to enforce mandatory sterilization of people for everything from having below average IQs to having a child outside marriage.

    The idea of glass ceilings, pulled up drawbridges, hereditary wealth and writing laws to benefit a specific class were simply not in their mental landscape.

    I imaging Ada, the Countess Lovelace and Grace Hopper would also have had something to say on the suitability and capability of women in tech jobs.

    1. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      John Smith 19, sadly doctors did not act alone in taking some of the reprehensible actions you condone. They were mandated by a society who's religious zeal transcended any actual religious consideration, i.e. the bit about forgiveness as a starting point. In short society conditions and allows conditioning and has to take action when it becomes clear that society's own failing are leading to bad outcomes. In my book that might have happened in this case.

      But then I once worked in a different society where it was found that females, who had previously been excluded from the labour force by societal norms only a few years earlier were actually far better coders than their male brothers.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      "This was the idea that lead to laws in the US allowing doctors to enforce mandatory sterilization of people for everything from having below average IQs to having a child outside marriage"

      So us thickos and mongoloids *in* marriages are exempt? Good

    3. Jet Set Willy

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      *Rear Admiral* Grace Hopper, if you don't mind.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        "*Rear Admiral* Grace Hopper, if you don't mind."

        True.

        But IIRC she got the title after the work on COBOL.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      "glass ceilings, pulled up drawbridges, hereditary wealth and writing laws to benefit a specific class " are unfortunately part of the landscape that ideally will change and disappear over time. But using Lovelace and Hopper misses the point. Exceptional people will always rise to the top. The argument in the memo was about group averages.

      This point seems to have been spectacularly missed by the author of the article when saying:

      "If you ever make a statement about what a broad group of people are like, especially in comparison to another group of people, you are going to be wrong. And the bigger that group, the more wrong you will be. And, no, simply inserting the word "average" does not excuse you ".

      That is a completely rubbish statement. Pretty much all of social science is based on comparing large groups of people to another, in their aggregate or average. It has to be a large group to be statistically significant. It is the outliers that cannot be used to make a case for the group as a whole.

      I'm not in any way taking a position one way or another about whether men are any more predisposed to IT than women. "IT" is itself such a broad term as to make comparisons meaningless anyway. I do not thing it is outrageous at all to postulate the theory that based on genetics and evolution, females (on average) may be better suited to some roles than males (on average) and vice versa, and thus that gender might be over- or under-represented in those roles even in an optimally-functioning meritocracy. Such a theory can be put to the test with a well-enough designed research / experiment (which will have to involve large groups of people).

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      "lead to laws in the US allowing doctors to enforce mandatory sterilization of people for everything from having below average IQs to having a child outside marriage."

      WHAT??? proof required. that's simply OUTRAGEOUS.

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

        Google for "three generations of imbeciles is enough".

        1. I Like Heckling

          Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

          "Google for "three generations of imbeciles is enough"."

          More commonly known as a 'politician'

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: simply OUTRAGEOUS

        But true. Also in USA sterilisation after a first birth (without consent) simply because you are poor.

      3. TheElder

        Re: You WHAT??? proof required. that's simply OUTRAGEOUS

        Yes it is.

        It is also true.

        U.S. Eugenics: When a Low I.Q. Meant Sterilization

        However, there might be some exceptions that should apply. I am thinking of a particular government worker that must be similar to this one: A capital T comes to mind

        Man with almost no brain leads normal life

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      >I imaging Ada, the Countess Lovelace and Grace Hopper would also have had something to say on the suitability and capability of women in tech jobs.

      Hopper has said plenty, though much of it does not support your contention. Lumping her major achievements in with Ada is a little unfair. Lovelace is a terrible role mode who epitomised white privilege far more than the state educated Googler and her only significant contribution was the translation of Menabrea's work for which she is, more often than not, wrongly credited.

    7. Citizens untied

      Re: You might have also looked up "Social Darwinism"

      As usual only fame seems to matter.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/04/technology/obituary-jean-sammet-software-designer-cobol.html?_r=0

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Then there are people who write articles while standing on the Good side.

    Meanwhile: Perhaps Shame Still Exists? "No Google Doodle today in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."

  4. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    asshe but

    I dont agree with many of the things he says, yet he is not wrong when he claims that google is no longer hiring based on merit (I would say they hired based on geekness at some point).

    Posting that was naive, has plenty of bias and firing him proves a big part of what he said and is dangerous.... you should not fire someone because you dont like his political ideas.

    1. HCV

      Re: asshe but

      you should not fire someone because you dont like his political ideas.

      But perhaps you should fire someone if they are a liability to your company. Or, more assertively: if someone is a liability to your company, you should fire them.

      Mr. Damore has conclusively proven that he cannot work well with others. I would not assign him to any team of any composition, based on his documented thought processes and aggressive contempt for empathy,

      In addition, he has put the company in a bind, internally and externally.

      Therefore, I would give him the chance to exercise his right to be happy elsewhere, and at the same time make room for a more productive and less disruptive employee.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: asshe but

        Bullshit. As soon as companies are allowed to selectively employ only "my kind of people" who think appropriately "positive thoughts", they become exactly the discriminative assholes they are allegedly trying to get rid of. What "white male" people are usually accused of is selectively congregating in certain spaces with the active exclusion of everybody else - this is exactly the same thing, corporately sanctioned, with a different criteria. If his work is poor, if he's discourteous or explicitly hostile to others and you fire him, that's one thing. If you do that because some people didn't like the way he thinks - and that includes the company itself - or because other people have a problem with him instead of the other way around then the asshole is YOU.

        1. astrax

          Re: asshe but

          I genuinely think long gone are the times when an idea was shot down with a well constructed counter argument as opposed to just being silenced by any means necessary. I get the impression that (for some people at least) censorship is more agreeable if the consequences for ideological deviation are of a non-violent nature. Whilst I disagree (mostly) with what he said, sacking him simply enforces a lot of his points about the bigotry that exists within Google.

          1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

            Re: asshe but

            "I genuinely think long gone are the times when an idea was shot down with a well constructed counter argument as opposed to just being silenced by any means necessary. I get the impression that (for some people at least) censorship is more agreeable if the consequences for ideological deviation are of a non-violent nature. Whilst I disagree (mostly) with what he said, sacking him simply enforces a lot of his points about the bigotry that exists within Google"

            If this is censorship why are we still talking about it. Censorship is typing falun dong in a search engine and getting a visit from the secret police.

            The young man had every right to express his opinions, he just didn't have the right to expect to work for a company whose opinions go directly against the expressed cutltural aims and brand of the company after doing so.

            He is still allowed to express his opinions, he just has to find a different pedestal to do so

            1. LewisRage

              Re: asshe but

              > Censorship is typing falun dong in a search engine and getting a visit from the secret police.

              Surely thats oppression, censorship would be getting zero results.

        2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: asshe but

          Everybody needs an asshole from time to time.

        3. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: asshe but

          Dropbear,

          No I think it's fair and right to hire people who fit your company culture and to fire those who don't. It's probably illegal but I'd want to surround myself with like minded individuals.

          There are problems with this approach, for example paedophiles gravitate to child services and then tend to hire more paedophiles. Great for paedos but not so good for children.

          At that point it's the organization which is corrupt not just the people in it.

          Firing this man will help Google achieve the true evil which is there destiny.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: asshe but

        "Mr. Damore has conclusively proven that he cannot work well with others. "

        Has he? Do you know him personally?

        Working with others forces you to adjust to different views and circumstances. You may disagree with the way they run their personal life - but if there is a job to be done then you judge on their ability to contribute their skills and effort.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: then you judge on their ability to contribute their skills and effort.

          And that's why Google is mainly white, young men? Honestly, go away and think about it, you're arguing that the status quo is working when it blatantly isn't, your employing from a narrow demographic instead of the broadest possible and yet you still think that merit is what drives the process. Repeating the same thing while expecting a different outcome is what?

          1. Terrance Brennan

            Re: then you judge on their ability to contribute their skills and effort.

            You can only hire from the available pool of qualified applicants. There are many reasons why that applicant pool favors a certain demographic; but, you can't make qualified candidates out of thin air. The hiring process is the wrong place to address the underlying issue. Making sure everyone has an opportunity to pursue their interests as far as their innate abilities will take them is how you address the "bias" you see.

        2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

          Re: asshe but

          "Mr. Damore has conclusively proven that he cannot work well with others.

          Has he? "

          Well yes, as soon as he disparaged 20% of the workforce as biologically inferior he became a liability. He became less effective in doing his job and incapable of being put in a position of responsibility where he may have direct influence over the career of others. Not only that but any decision based on the work of others will now have to be put in the filter of his expressed views. Did he turn down a colleague suggestion on its worth or due to their gender.

          Google is a corporation, and the bottom line is it about whether an employee can justify the cost of employing them(which I assume in this case is a lot). This employee reduced his worth to the company to the point where it was more cost effective to replace him. The employees big mistake was over estimating that his value.

          1. SuccessCase

            Re: asshe but

            "Well yes, as soon as he disparaged 20% of the workforce as biologically inferior he became a liability."

            Where did he do that? He didn't. He noted biological differences, and biological differences in brain function simply, factually and provably exist. Is that in and of itself a claim that one sex is biologically inferior to the other? It seems to me you must have felt the need make up that criticism due to a pre-conceived bias without actually reading or thinking about what he said.

            1. Vaidotas Zemlys

              Re: asshe but

              Men and women are different biologically and that is a fact. But does that mean that women are less apt at software engineering than men? The author of that document noted the biological differences and made a conclusion that because men and women are different biologically, they are different in their aptitude for being a software engineer. He tried to sugar coat this conclusion with fancy statistical terms, and certain caveats, but it is quite clear from the document that the author thinks this is true. He is entitled to that opinion, but voicing it out loud in a public forum naturally has certain consequences.

              1. SuccessCase

                Re: asshe but

                @Viadotas Zemlys

                "and made a conclusion that because men and women are different biologically, they are different in their aptitude for being a software engineer."

                No he didn't and you won't be able to come up with a quote to show he did. This is really very important and I am interested in why you feel the need to say that despite the fact he didn't say any such thing. He said in effect women are less inclined to want to be software engineers. That is a very different thing from saying they don't have the aptitude.

                Let me give an example. My mother was very clever. She could quite possibly have been a Nobel prize wining scientist if she had wanted to be. She didn't want to be. There is nothing at all insulting or demeaning about saying that. If someone told me my mother didn't have the aptitude to be a Nobel prize wining scientist, I would would think that is rather presumptive. They don't know her and don't know how very intelligent she is. But if they said she didn't have the desire to be one, I would agree with them.

              2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: asshe but

                Different yes - but difference can be a huge advantage if you recognize it.

                If males are such good coders and that's why men write code, then when does every day bring a new exploit and vulnerability?

                1. Michael Thibault

                  Re: asshe but

                  @Version 1.0. "If males are such good coders and that's why men write code, then when does every day bring a new exploit and vulnerability?"

                  Exposing vulnerabilities typically requires an understanding of code and creating exploits typically requires coding. And then there're the incentives... Who ya gonna call if you want either a vulnerability, an exploit for a vulnerability you know about, or both as a package?

            2. Paul 195

              Re: asshe but

              "He noted biological differences, and biological differences in brain function simply, factually and provably exist"

              The evidence for biological differences (as opposed to differences caused by social conditioning) is sketchy, controversial and dubious. If men were inherently better at science, why is it that in Malaysia (for example) women now outnumber men in university, and for children at school: "One Unicef report on the region found that Malaysian girls outperformed boys in all key subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science and Bahasa Malaysia." (https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/343444) . If there were a genuine gender gap, surely it would be reflected internationally. Or maybe the claims of "biological unsuitability" are indeed, simply absolute bullshit.

              1. SuccessCase

                Re: asshe but

                "The evidence for biological differences (as opposed to differences caused by social conditioning) is sketchy, controversial and dubious."

                Not at all, please provide sources. I can. This contains multiple highly accredited scientific sources, and discusses the Googler's paper :

                http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/google-memo-four-scientists-respond/

                Also please avoid left-wing sociologist/gender studies peer-reviewed "social science" sources as they are so often discredited bullshit - see this for a laugh:

                http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/05/21/fake-academic-paper-published-in-liberal-journal-hilariously-exposes-the-absurdity-of-gender-studies/

                1. Lingomat

                  Re: asshe but

                  Yes, I'm completely open to the idea of writing off entire genres of scientific literature because some random guy on the internet tells me they are 'discredited bullshit'. Particularly if they use an impeccable source to back up their claim such as theblaze.com.

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