6
   

White Women vs Free Speech: And Google is going to get sued.

 
 
emmett grogan
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 10:02 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
ding up the personal attacks; "twit", "idiot", "asshole"


You need to reread my writing I never used two of three words and the one I did use (twit) was not directed to you. However if you feel like one - go with it.

Making a lie about me is a viscous sort of hominem. Its do what you say but not as you do with you, isn't it.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 10:24 am
I would really like to hear Engineer's take on this question (if anyone else wants to to try a rational discussion, I would like to hear from them too).

There are a large number of engineers (male and even female) who believe that males are, on average, more suited to be engineers than women are. Of course this a complex issue, there are many different opinions along this line. But I think it fair to say that there are a significant number of engineers who believe this.

What do you propose that we do with these engineers? Engineers are hired because they have an economic value. Companies need the best engineers. The argument that engineers with the wrong opinions aren't economically is clearly wrong. Silicon Valley makes a hell of a lot of money with engineers with a wide variety of unpopular beliefs.

So company's have a couple of choices.

1. A company can stifle the expression any unpopular opinions of employees. You can't stop an engineer from believing that gender has an impact on a engineering career. But you can stop him or her from expressing their ideas.

Is stifling certain opinions from being expressed a good thing for an engineering company or a bad thing? There is an argument to be made that companies should foster an environment where divergent opinions can be discussed openly.

2. A company can hold training sessions on tolerance. This is what many companies are doing. I can tell you from personal experience that these training sessions are worthless... I bet you can too, Engineer. Our "sensitivity training" was almost universally scorned at my company. They were viewed a a joke; we all called each other "Sweetheart" for months after that.

I don't think there is any research showing that corporate training can change opinions. You might note that Google's effort in this has been a dismal failure, and that the company meeting to clean up the mess of this firing was just fired because Google employees rejected it.

3. Or a company draw clear lines, but allow a lot of latitude when it comes to employees. The company I work for does this. Sexual harassment is not allowed, and the standards are very clear.

No engineer would be fired from my company for expressing this opinion. We have discussion that are less politically correct at lunch time. We are professional, and no one really cares (this may be the advantage of working for a small company rather than Google).

4. Engineers are an opinionated bunch... you get all sorts of opinions from Trump Supporters, to Libertarians, to Feminists to the deeply Religious. I have worked with all of these people. I don't keep my mouth shut about my opinions, but I can state my opinion and still work professionally with someone with whom I disagree. Many of us engineers enjoy working in an environment where there can be a free-wheeling exchange of ideas.

Companies need engineers and often have trouble finding ones that can solve a problem. They are judging on intelligence, experience and the ability to solve problems. If a company is going to succeed they need to be able to hire engineers on their ability to do a job.

Companies that need to filter out engineers based on their political opinions are going to run into problems. They are crippling their ability to get the best talent.

Google is in a very tough spot. Such a public firing of an engineer will make it harder for them to find and hire a large number of engineers who want to have and express unpopular opinions without fearing for their jobs.

maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 10:30 am
@emmett grogan,
Quote:
So you don't think anyone has ever been arrested and convicted of hate speech???


I don't really understand the argument you are making here, which makes it difficult to respond. In the United States the following has been protected under the First Amendment...

- A Klu Klux Klan member who called for "revengeance" against "niggers" and Jews on national TV.
- Nazi party members who wanted to march, with swastikas, through a neighborhood with a large number of Jewish residents.
- The Westboro Baptist Church who picketed the funeral of a fallen Marine with signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".

I think you would agree that any of these cases constitutes "hate speech". They were all protected under the First Amendment.

There have been other court cases that have said that free speech is restricted in a workplace or a public high school. And there are restrictions against incitement and direct threats... but these restrictions have been pretty narrow (the first example calling for "revengeance" was not considered a threat or incitement by the Supreme Court.)

Are you making a different argument that I think you are making?
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 10:36 am
@emmett grogan,
emmett grogan wrote:
hominem.

Some of my best friends are hominems. So what if you like musical theatre?
centrox
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 10:46 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
- A Klu Klux Klan member who called for "revengeance" against "niggers" and Jews on national TV.
- Nazi party members who wanted to march, with swastikas, through a neighborhood with a large number of Jewish residents.
- The Westboro Baptist Church who picketed the funeral of a fallen Marine with signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".

I am pretty sure that some, if not all of these, would be prosecuted in Britain, and, in my opinion, rightly so. The Public Order Act 1986 forbids communications that contain expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person's colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 amended the Public Order Act 1986 by adding Part 3A. That Part says, "A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred." The Part protects freedom of expression by stating in Section 29J:

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system. Subjective descriptions of a person's actions or behaviour, however abhorrent, crass or objectionable, may not be considered an attempt to spread hate unless the motive is clearly defined as such.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 amended Part 3A of the earlier Act, to add the offence of inciting hatred on the ground of sexual orientation.

All the offences in Part 3 attach to the following acts: the use of words or behaviour or display of written material, publishing or distributing written material, the public performance of a play, distributing, showing or playing a recording, broadcasting or including a programme in a programme service, and possession of inflammatory material. In the circumstances of hatred based on religious belief or on sexual orientation, the relevant act (namely, words, behaviour, written material, or recordings, or programme) must be threatening and not just abusive or insulting.

On 13 October 2001, Harry Hammond, an evangelist, was arrested and charged under section 5 of the Public Order Act (1986) because he had displayed to people in Bournemouth a large sign bearing the words "Jesus Gives Peace, Jesus is Alive, Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism, Jesus is Lord". In April 2002, a magistrate convicted Hammond, fined him £300, and ordered him to pay costs of £395.

On 2 September 2006, Stephen Green was arrested in Cardiff for distributing pamphlets which called sexual activity between members of the same sex a sin. On 28 September 2006, the Crown advised Cardiff Magistrates Court that it would not proceed with the prosecution.

On 8 December 2009, Mr Justice Richard Clancy, sitting at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, acquitted Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, hoteliers, of charges under the Public Order Act 1986 and under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The Vogelensangs were charged after a guest at their hotel, Ericka Tazi, complained that the Vogelenzangs had insulted her after she appeared in a hijab.

On 4 March 2010, a jury returned a verdict of guilty against Harry Taylor, who was charged under Part 4A of the Public Order Act 1986. Taylor was charged because he left anti-religious cartoons in the prayer-room of Liverpool's John Lennon Airport on three occasions in 2008. The airport chaplain, who was insulted, offended, and alarmed by the cartoons, called the police. He got a six-month term of imprisonment suspended for two years, a five-year Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO), and 100 hours of unpaid work. This was his second conviction.

On 20 April 2010, police arrested Dale McAlpine, a Christian preacher, of Workington in Cumbria, for saying that homosexual conduct was a sin. On 14 May 2010, the Crown decided not to prosecute McAlpine. Later still the police apologised to McAlpine for arresting him at all, and paid him several thousand pounds compensation.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 11:04 am
@centrox,
In the United States, Free Speech is Constitutionally protected as an inherent right. It is the First Amendment. Americans have the inherent right to free speech and government can only restrict it under very narrow circumstances.

My understand of English law is that Free Speech isn't considered an inherent right. Rather, Free Speech is given to citizens by the government. In England you have free speech, not as an inherent right, but as allowable under law.

The Harry Hammond case is pretty shocking to my American mindset. You can't fine someone in the United States for stating an opinion... it is against our Constitution. And the idea that someone can be charged under an "Anti-Social Behavior Order" for drawing a cartoon is pretty un-American.

Yes, there are differences between countries. But in the United States Free Speech is considered as an "inalienable right". Speech is not something that is permitted by the government, it is something that is assumed to be free, and can only be taken away from a citizen for a very compelling reasons.

Personally I believe in Freedom of Speech. Once you let a government be in the position to stifle hateful opinions, they gain the power to stifle any opinion. The power to judge which opinions are permissible and which are not is a too much power for a government to have over its citizens in a free society. Fortunately I live in a society where Free Speech is guaranteed as a Constitutional right.
centrox
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 11:08 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
And the idea that someone can be charged under an "Anti-Social Behavior Order" for drawing a cartoon is pretty un-American.

Nobody is "charged" under an ASBO. They are given following conviction. It's a kind of probation. The bar for prosecution is pretty high. You wouldn't get prosecuted for drawing a cartoon of the fat guy who lives next door. There has to be intent to cause alarm or distress, and the thing has be publicly displayed, published or distributed, and to mock religion, ethnic origin, sexuality etc. As for British hate laws being "un-American", well, I guess we can live with that. It isn't like East Germany or North Korea, despite what a lot of right-wing Americans say.

I see that California woman (Playboy model) who body shamed a fellow gym user by putting her photo online got prosecuted and got 30 days of graffiti removal services, and three years’ probation.




emmett grogan
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 11:56 am
@centrox,
That's not the worst of it. I missed a lot words upstream.

Max just plumb wears me out. I get to typing too quickly and hominem happens.

Cheerio.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 12:41 pm
@emmett grogan,
This is a silly post Emmett. If having a discussion with someone outside of your ideological bubble "wears you out", then why not go elsewhere. You are here, on the thread that I started, presumably because you think it is interesting. For you to come here, to complain is a little irrational.

And for the record, the term "ad hominem" is from Latin. The word "hominem" literally means person. It means an attack or an argument that is focused on who the person is rather than on what the person is saying or doing.

If someone says "Emmett is uneducated" so you can't take him seriously, that is an ad hominem attack. They are not commenting on your reasoning, but instead they are commenting on a trait of your person (right or wrong).

Attacks on a point of view, a line of reasoning, or an action that a person takes is not an "ad hominem". If you say "Max isn't making any sense", that isn't an ad hominem. That is a comment on your opinion of what I am saying. If I say "Emmet is acting rudely", also not an ad hominem. I am commenting on your behavior.

Personal attacks are ad hominems. Attaching a label to a person to discredit their argument is an ad hominems. Disagreeing with an opinion, pointing out problems in a line of reasoning, or commenting on someone's behavior are not ad hominems.

I am glad we cleared that up.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 12:46 pm
@centrox,
Quote:
I see that California woman (Playboy model) who body shamed a fellow gym user by putting her photo online got prosecuted and got 30 days of graffiti removal services, and three years’ probation.


This is a tangent to the discussion about Google. I agree with this type of case because the need for personal privacy is one of the narrow cases where Free Speech can be restricted. The personal privacy is the issue. In the context of this discussion, we are not talking about the "shaming" of an individual. We are talking about the alleged disparagement of a broad group of people.

The argument that because an individual woman will be affected when all women are disparaged is clearly not valid in US law. There are people in the US who wave banners in public places that say "God Hates Fags". This is protected speech (in spite of the fact that individual homosexuals will clearly take offence at this sentiment).

At Google, if he had said "Sheila Halverson is incapable to do her job because she is a woman", we all agree that this would be a fireable offence. But that isn't what he said.
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:10 pm
@centrox,
centrox wrote:

maxdancona wrote:
- A Klu Klux Klan member who called for "revengeance" against "niggers" and Jews on national TV.
- Nazi party members who wanted to march, with swastikas, through a neighborhood with a large number of Jewish residents.
- The Westboro Baptist Church who picketed the funeral of a fallen Marine with signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".



He must be so proud. Anything taken to an absolute is wrong. Free speech is no different, and giving hate speech the protection of free speech is nothing short of fetishism and fanaticism.

I'm proud that we don't afford such disgusting hate mongering the protection of the law. I don't know why you're even trying to explain why that's a good thing; Max's thinking is far too fascistic to grasp such a concept. Supporting hate speech, which is what Max is doing, is un British, indecent, and disgusting. We don't want any truck with that ****.
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:12 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
At Google, if he had said "Sheila Halverson is incapable to do her job because she is a woman", we all agree that this would be a fireable offence. But that isn't what he said.

As an employer, my beef would have been not so much specifically with what he said, but that he wrote a divisive "manifesto" which threatened to lock me and my HR dept in a bunch of trouble of open-ended extent and cost, and reputational damage. I would also have a beef about his loyalty, and his ability and/or willingness to work with others.

As for the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights doesn't protect workers in the private sector from being fired over speech in or outside the workplace — it only prevents the government from infringing upon citizens' speech. Political activity retaliation is not covered by the federal laws that generally prohibit retaliation based on race, colour, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability for private employers, or by the laws protecting against retaliation on the basis of union or concerted activity.

maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:17 pm
@izzythepush,
Lol Izzy,

The absolute freedom of expression... where a citizen can express any opinion no matter how unpopular without any fear of retribution from the government... is not usually a trait associated with fascist governments. Nice Godwin though.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:26 pm
@centrox,
I agree with you about the First Amendment not applying in private businesses. I started talking about the First Amendment in response to Emmett's claim that "Hate Speech is not Protected Speech".

As far as Google.... they put themselves into a difficult situation.

If you select the best engineers based purely on their engineering talent, you are going to get a group of very intelligent people with a large range of political beliefs (Engineer can attest to this). I have worked with libertarians, flat taxers, fundamentalist Christians, Trump Supporters, true socialists. Engineers are brilliant, but they tend to be atypical and eccentric (and usually opinionated). In every company I have had, professional engineers learn to work with each other. I have never worked at a place where there wasn't conversation about "offensive" topics. As professionals we learn to tolerate each other (and even enjoy different opinions)... as we push out the really cool technology that makes our companies money.

A successful software company does what is known in the industry as "herding cats". They take this group of brilliant, often odd, sometimes anti-social engineers and get them to produce something with economic value.

If you are looking for people who are "loyal", socially skilled who won't cause any difficulty for your HR department, your candidate list is going to be awfully small indeed.

If you want to hire the best engineers... you are going to have to deal with people who aren't model citizens.

Google has created this problem. They say they want people to feel free to express divergent opinions. Then the fire someone after he writes a memo that expresses divergent opinions.

The message that these brilliant, opinionated, quirky, possibly anti-social engineers are getting is; "We had better stifle our divergent opinions".

Whether that is the best path forward for Google is a decision that Google will have to make.
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:26 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
The Harry Hammond case is pretty shocking to my American mindset. You can't fine someone in the United States for stating an opinion... it is against our Constitution.

In a street demonstration in The Square, in Bournemouth on 13 October 2001, Hammond held up a large double-sided sign bearing the words "Jesus Gives Peace, Jesus is Alive, Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism, Jesus is Lord". Some passers-by became angry, and tried to remove the sign; some threw water and soil at Hammond. Two police officers arrived and arrested Hammond, and charged him under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. No one in the crowd was charged.

The relevant provisions of the Act state: "(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he ... (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby …(3) It is a defence for the accused to prove ... (c) that his conduct was reasonable."

In April 2002, a Magistrates court heard that Hammond had travelled by bus to preach with the sign. During the bus journey the defendant covered the sign with a black plastic bin-liner as he believed the sign might cause a fracas if displayed inside the bus, because of reaction he had previously received because of it. The defendant began preaching, holding the sign upright so that it was clearly visible to passers-by. A group of 30 to 40 young people gathered, arguing and shouting, some people in the crowd were angry and others distressed and pummelled him. Police officers attended the scene; there was a disagreement as to whether they should protect Hammond or arrest him. One of them spoke to the defendant and asked him to take the sign down and leave the area. The defendant refused saying that he was aware that his sign was insulting because he had had a similar reaction before on another occasion, but that he intended to return the following Saturday to preach with the sign again.

Hammond was convicted, fined £300, and ordered to pay costs of £395. The court ordered the destruction of the placards. Shortly after his trial, Hammond died.

In January 2004, a posthumous appeal (Hammond v Director of Public Prosecutions) on the basis of the Human Rights Act failed. A two-judge panel, Lord Justice May sitting with Mr Justice Harrison, at the High Court in London, was told the sign caused a furore as a group of 30 to 40 people gathered round. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, appearing for Hammond’s executors, said: “He (Hammond) was subjected to a number of assaults. Soil was thrown at him and water poured over his head. Someone tried to seize the sign and he was knocked to the ground."

The justices were of the opinion that the words on the sign were insulting and caused distress to persons who were present and that the defendant was aware of that fact. The judges ruled that Hammond's behaviour "went beyond legitimate protest" and that Hammond's right to freedom of expression under section 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights was constrained by a legitimate concern to prevent disorder and that there was a pressing social need for the restriction.
A further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was dismissed.

The case has become a cause celebre in the United Kingdom and has been discussed in commentaries by conservative columnists Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens. These two are notorious far-right wingnuts, but interestingly, Peter Tatchell, who is well known for his campaigns in support of gay rights, offered to testify on Hammond's behalf at the appeal, calling the case "an outrageous assault on civil liberties."

0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:31 pm
@maxdancona,
Some thoughts, not necessarily in the format of an essay:

1) Google is a business.
2) Google is a BIG business.
3) Businesses are social constructs.
4) Businesses need good employees.
5) They need to fill every role with good employees, both in and out of software engineering.
6) Tolerance of assholes leads to a dearth of good employees. (It affects employee retention and recruiting.)
7) Plenty of tech companies have decided not to tolerate "brilliant jerks." ("Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high." – Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO)
8) This guy is probably not that brilliant, anyway.
9) "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." - Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford
10) Bravo to them for taking a strong stance against this idiot. Will they get sued? Maybe. Is it worth a payout to this idiot to demonstrate what their culture is? Hell yes.

Ultimately, the Google leadership has to decide what kind of company they want. Do they want a company dominated by a social-darwinistic Bro culture, or do they want a company where people work in teams and get **** done without a bunch of drama?

The funniest part about this tempest in a teapot is that this dude simultaneously decries groupthink and also argues against diversity. Groupthink is best avoided by increasing diversity.
DrewDad
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:50 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

If you want to hire the best engineers... you are going to have to deal with people who aren't model citizens.

Mmmm....

Good managers aren't looking at individual productivity. They're looking to maximize team productivity.

The CEO is looking to maximize company profit, which means maximizing productivity across the entire enterprise.

If some dipshit offends a significant portion of the population, you act quickly to shut that **** down. This idiot isn't just offending co-workers, he's offending customers.

maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 01:59 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad, you are setting up a false choice between "ideological echo chamber" and "social-darwinistic Bro Culture".

I am arguing the freedom of expression should be an important part of a successful in in a successful innovative engineering team. My point is that you will inevitably get a divergence of opinions on any group of engineers that are selected primarily on technical skills.

You are referring to human beings (and presumably skilled engineers) with labels such as "asshole", "jerk", and "good employee". There is a problem with this, human beings are complex and teams are complex. Someone who would be considered an "asshole" in your organization will be a perfect fit in mine and be part of a productive team that "gets **** done".

Platitudes from CEOs are nonsense (if you are working in the field, you understand this full well). I guarantee you that there are productive teams in Netflex that have valued team members that you would judge to be a "jerk".

The real problem Google has is that they just sent a broad message to their 76,000 employees that certain opinions will lead to termination. Some people are applauding. Many employees are questioning the decision and decrying the lack of freedom of expression. Some employees have a legitimate complaint that their perspective isn't welcome.

You are correct that Google has to decide what type of organization they want to be. You are wrong that gender and racial diversity equals ideological diversity, there are megachurches who are very diverse in terms of race and gender with very narrow views on sexuality and morality.

But the real problem Google has now is the fact that they fired someone for expressing an opinion. This event will inevitably stifle the open expression of ideas within Google. Whether this is a good thing or not is a matter of opinion.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 02:02 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
Good managers aren't looking at individual productivity. They're looking to maximize team productivity.


I will make the point again.... people who would be a disaster on your team will fit quite well into another team. You can say that a person wouldn't fit into your team, but to say that their social skills or opinions mean that they can't work on any team is demonstrably false. Teams have to work well with each other to be productive. They don't have to be socially acceptable to anyone else.

Human beings, and teams, are far too complex to be driven by these simplistic labels.
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2017 02:19 pm
@maxdancona,
Can you please define what you mean by "freedom of expression?"

Nobody censored the expression of his opinion.
 

Related Topics

Tablet Wars: Google Strikes Back! - Discussion by tsarstepan
Who does Google think you are? - Discussion by hingehead
Google Street View! - Question by Victor Murphy
Google easter eggs & pranks!! - Discussion by Monger
Google and the ABC's of the Internet - Discussion by tsarstepan
Google Groups - Question by gollum
GOOGLE BANNER - Question by WendyLou
All in a name, Google recognises Palestine. - Discussion by izzythepush
Google = Untrusted connection? - Question by boomerang
 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 01/22/2022 at 12:52:38