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    I’ve previously agreed that there’s a movement to silence any alternative views on some of these topics. This attacking of outgroup is actually a normal thing for people. So, I see where the author is coming from on that where people can’t disagree without risking their jobs or some other damage. Then, the author gets into some crap along nature vs nurture fully believing biology determines everything or it should be heard more. Far as the biology argument, a female EE (usmeteora) utterly destroyed the claims of memo author with a great counterpoint below with many examples cited.

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14936763

    I’m still in favor of improving training/education in IT across the board, efforts that get many kinds of people (eg minorities) into the supply part of the pipeline, and applicant acceptance based on stuff like blind evaluations of actual work (i.e. code or design) against criteria relevant to actual job position. These will get a lot done in terms of getting effective workers who are also a diverse bunch based on prior results in blind, performance-driven evaluations. Plenty of other things to consider but these are my focus areas when the topic comes up.

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        The anecdotes showed that women given the chance to do well at tech succeeded in doing well at tech. Including in some of the higher-impact situations in tech. The concept that one should filter women due to barely-substantiated claims of biology instead of looking at performance or organizational culture might have prevented those successes. It’s corroborated by evidence from studies showing what people think when watching for gender vs what they think looking just at performance. Bias creeps in on the first.

        Also, most male programmers I’ve seen in Silicon Valley or even on Github can’t seem to pull off a 5-6ft stack of perfect specs and code like Hamilton et al did in the 1960’s in assembly without modern tooling on hand-sewn memory. She wasn’t even the brightest woman I’ve seen so much as a smart one constantly keeping her team focused on doing what works, eliminating what doesn’t, and relentless focus on quality. Most of The Right Stuff among white males in the Valley and other male-dominated places can’t seem to pull off such a feat. Even in FOSS where they can do it however they like. Must not be performance or intellectual capacity limiting the entry of the next Hamilton or Hopper into most companies. ;)

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          I am not sure why you think biology (well, it’s mostly psychology) claims are barely-substantiated. Especially, “women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men” is one of the best and largest documented finding in gender difference in personality research. Go read Gender Differences in Personality and Interests (2010).

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            I’ve read stuff like that. It always tries to ignore the proven fact that cultures try to force men and women to think and act differently at an early age. The classical conditioning process rewards or punishes behavior. The data shows women are discouraged from doing STEM at a young age, then with their peers in school, and then treated differently in the workplace. With that data, esp negative reinforcement everywhere, of course they’ll act differently in general.

            That means anyone arguing biology in the midst of all that conditioning must be intentionally ignoring conditioning. That’s unscientific. It usually means they have a pre-conceived notion they want to push with the biology claims being cherry-picked evidence to support it. In the totality of data, who we are seems mostly determined by what we’re born with plus how we’re raised and our environment from that point on. Our own decisions and beliefs add to that at each step. With the effect of society’s conditioning, the logical thing to do is eliminate as much of that as possible on race or gender to instead encourage people to be who they want to be with positive reinforcement of good results.

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              the logical thing to do is eliminate as much of that as possible on race or gender to instead encourage people to be who they want to be with positive reinforcement of good results

              As long as what they want to be is equally distributed in all domains of human activity, right?

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                They want a lot of different things. Equality usually means equal opportunity in the consensus. As in, if they have the skill, they won’t be rejected only on grounds of (superficial property). I think only ideological types distant from reality will expect an equal distribution of people in the final result. If anything, it should probably approximate the distribution of locals of that business esp who are acquiring job skills in same area.

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              Forgot to respond to this:

              “We’re so fucking stupid that the pinnacle of our skill is combining the gccgo runtime with the Nim compiler. It would take us more than a lifetime to get to the level of writing perfect code in assembly and hand-sewn memory…”

              I thought that was particularly funny given they’re buggy as hell despite all kinds of techniques for improving quality of software going back up to five decades. About two for compilers. I’m not even talking full, formal verification so much as doing it in a functional style in maybe Standard ML w/ assertions for correctness properties, checkers, and automated testing. Would’ve prevented a crap-load of bugs. FLINT was applying techniques like that on optimizing compiler with much lower defects than usual. On the high end, Rees et al verified a Scheme, INRIA verified a C compiler, and Myreen et al a SML compiler. Pieces of these might be reused either building an optimizing compiler or doing QA for it with equivalence checks.

              And, the methods continue not being used for most people writing software. The older folks and women that built them are ignored in favor of “smarter” people who couldn’t pull off 2.3 defects per Kloc or lower on a complex system if they tried. Especially rapidly using their error-prone techniques. I know there’s hope since some Universities have professors training their students in such methods with them hitting similar levels of defects. The gap between the quality of their software and the average… or average versus the women at Apollo who had no prior software training or QA tools… shows my claim was on point.

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                From now on all SV companies should hire female programmers exclusively

                Or just focus on measured skill with equal treatment like I said. I bet they’d also hire some people who aren’t 18-20 in the process. Who knew older people who’ve been coding in a variety of languages and tooling for 10+ years might be able to code in theirs? Not Silicon Valley apparently. They’re so pro-discrimination on age that some even straight up say young people are smarter and better.

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                  Or just focus on measured skill with equal treatment like I said.

                  You either optimise for equal treatment or equal representation. Those two purposes are mutually exclusive for the simple reason that self-selected samples are bound to differ in composition from the general population.

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                    The selection process currently optimizes for young, white males due to the people selecting. The great work is done by all kinds of people. That tells me there’s two problems: whose available (in view); how they’re selected. Need to improve both. The first is done by educators and activists who get whoever they want trained. They’ll determine the demographics of supply. The second is done with fair evaluation methods. If it’s blind and good measurement, who gets in will probably be fair for once. I don’t expect one party to do it all in terms of diversity.

                    Promotion is another story that’s too difficult a subject for me to make recommendations.

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                      The selection process currently optimizes for young, white males due to the people selecting.

                      Is that how they ended up with a diversity hire that couldn’t debug their way out of a paper bag, but managed Tech Jobs Academy at Microsoft for over an year, was employed as a junior developer for 6 months before that and was employed as a developer for 9 months before that - fresh out of a 4 months RoR course?

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          This should not be here, but since it is, it’s worth looking at the nominal source material.

          The main issues in the document seem to be:

          • Google could do a better job with cis-women if it accounted for putative neurobiological differences (unknown if links to this research were provided, because the repost helpfully ellided hyperlinks) instead of those from social causes.
          • Google could do better by focusing on psychological safety than on diversity.
          • Google has a culture that is intolerant of “Right”-leaning ideas, which can harm the business.
          • Google has explicit support structures in place for minorities that do not exist for non-minority (presumably “white” hetero cis-male) hires.

          And the main solutions proposed are:

          • Separate the moral aspects of diversity from its promulgation, enabling more honest discussion.
          • Improve the intellectual environment so as to make it friendlier to “closeted” conservatives.
          • Do better demographic breakdowns of Googlegeist to better show biases.
          • Improve transparency into the diversity initiatives in Google, both in outcomes and costs.
          • Focus on “psychological safety” (whatever that is) and shared values instead of just diversity.
          • Decrease focus on empathy/anecdata in favor of qualitative metrics.
          • Focus less on microaggressions.
          • Be more open-minded about “human nature” (presumably the neurobiology stuff).
          • Revisit the Unconscious Bias training, as it has not been shown to be effective.

          It’s a relatively tame thing, though given the coverage on Vice you could be forgiven for thinking it was some kind of MRA/nazi thinkpiece.

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            Google could do a better job with cis-women if it accounted for putative neurobiological differences

            As far as I know, there is no scientific literature indicating that gender differences in neurological development provide any clue about the skills of any particular person. If there is such material in the literature, it would be interesting to see a citation. Absent such a citation, that argument has a bad odor.

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              As far as I know, there is no scientific literature indicating that gender differences in neurological development provide any clue about the skills of any particular person.

              Sex differences, actually. Start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_intelligence#Researchers_in_favor_of_males_in_g_factor

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                So you don’t understand science, you don’t get even basic stats, and yet you make the Self-Refuting Fredo Corleone Argument. Nicely done.

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            Recently ex-Googler Yonathan Zunger has one of the best responses I’ve read: So, about this Googler’s manifesto

            In particular, I think he counters the silencing of discussion argument really well (paraphrasing): there’s a fine but important line between an opinion that is unpopular and an opinion that is hostile; expression of the latter creates a hostile work environment.

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              I think he counters the silencing of discussion argument really well

              How could he, when he misrepresents the memo as “about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers”?

              Have you read the original document? Please quote the part where the evil author advocates against equal opportunities for lowly females.

              there’s a fine but important line between an opinion that is unpopular and an opinion that is hostile; expression of the latter creates a hostile work environment

              In my mind, an opinion is hostile if it asks for the arbitrary termination of an employee - that’s dangerous in a country where only the well employed can afford decent healthcare. You’re not just getting a short adrenaline rush from ganging up to lynch an ideological opponent, you’re putting real lives at real risk.

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                Please quote the part where the evil author advocates against equal opportunities for lowly females.

                When you assess the ethical consequences of some speech or text, you have to take into account not just the factual accuracy of the text, but also the function of the text in the social context. This is what Yonathan Zunger was talking about. In this case, the manifesto functions as hostile to certain groups of people (women), and the mechanism of this functionality is rather clear: a woman already has a disadvantage within our society’s structure because, from an early age, she is shunted into a limited amount of roles. The manifesto lists these rather explicitly and even reinforces them: see the “Personality differences” section and the part about biological determinism.

                Think of this like “degrees of freedom”: by characterizing a group (“category”) of people in this way, it limits the degrees of freedom that those people have for choosing their own place in society. Of course this works for both men and women, or any category of people; the manifesto author makes a statement to this effect:

                • The male gender role is currently inflexible
                • Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

                The point of diversity (IMO) is to expand the degrees of freedom for a category of people; if Google’s diversity program is expanding degrees of freedom for women and limiting degrees of freedom for men, then it should probably be re-thought. I’m not a Googler so don’t have enough context to assess that. And I don’t think the manifesto author’s claims about “left ideology” or biological determinism work as evidence of any kind of bias. If the manifesto author wanted to be more effective, they should have based their argument on this degrees of freedom aspect (which is empirically verifiable), instead of making inaccurate assumptions about biological determinism or hand-wavy claims about “left ideology”.

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                  When you assess the ethical consequences of some speech or text, you have to take into account not just the factual accuracy of the text, but also the function of the text in the social context.

                  The French call this fallacy “procès d’intention” - putting a presumed intent on trial, instead of what was actually said.

                  In this case, the manifesto functions as hostile to certain groups of people

                  Is this the “someone was offended/triggered by this so the blame is all yours” defence? There’s nothing hostile in there. No call to break the law or harm people in any way. You just don’t like the message and try to blame the messenger for you being upset. That’s not how adults are supposed to reason.

                  a woman already has a disadvantage within our society’s structure because, from an early age, she is shunted into a limited amount of roles

                  Bullshit. This “victimhood in perpetuity” narrative has been false for a long time in most of the world.

                  Think of this like “degrees of freedom”: by characterizing a group (“category”) of people in this way, it limits the degrees of freedom that those people have for choosing their own place in society.

                  So we should ban observation altogether, because stating the facts magically casts them in stone?

                  The point of diversity (IMO) is to expand the degrees of freedom for a category of people

                  No, of course not. The point of diversity programs and policies is to reproduce in a non-random sample the composition of the general population.

                  this degrees of freedom aspect (which is empirically verifiable)

                  You seem confused about how reality works. Things don’t become true just because we wish them to be true really, really hard.

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                    Hey stefantalpalaru, I appreciate your hard-line logicism on the above points, but in doing so you’re actually missing the real point, which is one of ethics. Ethics consists of social and psychological constructions around subjects, and the effects those constructions have on said subjects. These constructions wield social and psychological power over people, so analysis of how power works is central to any debate around what is fair or right. This line of thought has a long and well-defined history, beginning with Spinoza’s Ethics, in which he created a mathematical description of how the subject works, continuing with Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and his discussions of forces, Foucault’s work on power and discipline, Deleuze’s work on psychoanalysis (schizoanalysis) and the history of philosophy, Levinas’ (fantastic) books on ethics and alterity, and so on.

                    All of your points above completely miss this aspect of ethics and power. You’ve cherry-picked clauses that aren’t central to my thesis that the functional mechanics of the manifesto rhetoric is hostile to certain groups of people. This is not the “victimhood in perpetuity” argument; it’s just simple and well-established ethical principles and power dynamics. There’s no blaming the messenger, at least I’m not blaming anyone. This is a discussion that should be had, but it is entirely a discussion of ethics.

                    Rationality is great and useful, but it can also be mis-used as an instrument of power: when the manifesto author says that women are biologically less prone to logical tasks, he is claiming authority over rationality, and using this authority to determine what women are allowed to do, thus over-powering them. It doesn’t even matter if men are inherently more logical (whatever that might mean) than women. The very structure of this argument concerns power, not the abilities of men and women. Abilities should be assessed strictly on an individual basis and all structures that over-power a group of people, preventing them from being assessed accurately, should be removed. To his credit, the manifesto author says something along these lines, but he also completely undermines his argument by bringing up the biological determinism stuff.

                    Here are some videos that introduce you to how ethics works (or just read the books I mention above):

                    If you can watch those videos and take up the discussion on my actual argument, then I’d be happy to continue. Otherwise we are just talking past each other.

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                      when the manifesto author says that women are biologically less prone to logical tasks, he is claiming authority over rationality, and using this authority to determine what women are allowed to do, thus over-powering them

                      That’s just an attempt to explain differences in outcome. You can completely remove these explanations and the rest still stands. What you cannot do is use them to undermine the observed reality: there is no equal outcome given equal opportunity.

                      Abilities should be assessed strictly on an individual basis and all structures that over-power a group of people, preventing them from being assessed accurately, should be removed.

                      How do you reconcile this with reparatory discrimination? Individuals should not be penalised when applying for college, unless they are Asian? They should not be penalised when applying for programming jobs, unless they are white males?

                      Seriously, how do you explain to yourself that power dynamics trump ethics and reason so we need to discriminate for the greater good?

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                        there is no equal outcome given equal opportunity.

                        Nobody is saying “equal outcome” is the goal here. Some “neoliberals” (who don’t usually understand the history of liberalism) might think that, but in general it is not the view of the contemporary leftist thinkers. Rather, leftists want to remove the inhibitory power structures that unnecessarily limit individuals from achieving what they want.

                        power dynamics trump ethics and reason

                        I never said that. Power dynamics are an important element to any ethical analysis, but the entire analysis is had within a framework of reason. This is what Foucault and Nietzsche and others talk about, they go so far as to develop new logical structures for understanding the power dynamics and analyzing them.

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                      The French call this fallacy “procès d’intention” - putting a presumed intent on trial, instead of what was actually said.

                      Indeed. When the mafia guy says: “nice face you got, it would be a shame if it got pounded into the pavement”, it would be a fallacy to ascribe an intent to threaten. Thanks for making that so clear.

                      It would be a fallacy, by the same logic, to imagine that “thanks for making that clear” has any sarcastic tone or carried any negative assessments of your communication skills.

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                        Funny, but no. An actual example would be accusing of antisemitism each and every critic of Israel, or accusing of islamophobia anyone opposing the use of burka in public.

                        Thoughtcrime is not about a more or less veiled threat, but about presumed thoughts that have no basis in what was expressed. Not even a dissimulated one.

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                          Your first claim was that interpreting statements in terms of the words and the social context was illogical. So I pointed out that everyone knows communication depends on both words and social context. Your fallback seems to rely on the implication that there is no social context that helps us understand the text. Is being obtuse your only form of argument? To claim in an organization like Google that people of lower capability are being promoted in defiance of scientific fact, is not to simply express an opinion, such as an opinion that foie gras tastes good or that Bob Dylan’s voice is annoying - it is to attack both the management of the company and the status of one’s colleagues in an offensive way. If this attack is justified in terms resentment and a moronic reading of the scientific literature it is doubly offensive. That’s not making thinking a crime, it is making rudeness and stupidity socially unacceptable.

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                            That’s not making thinking a crime, it is making rudeness and stupidity socially unacceptable.

                            So it’s rude and stupid to point out that the emperor is naked? I wonder if it was rude and stupid to point out that most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis and Iraq had nothing to do with it, or that there is no evidence that Russia hacked DNC and that whole propaganda campaign is built on appeals to authority.

                            Maybe we need these “rude and stupid” people to zap us out of the complacency of going along with the banality of evil. Maybe we should thank them for their sacrifice.

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                              Hilarious.

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                A better article, with a copy of the internal memo and a response from Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance: http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

                I agree with most of the contents of that memo and the only thing I’d add is that by requesting that a non-random sample should mirror the composition of the general population you are fighting against statistics and implicitly mathematics.

                The VP’s response is interesting in how it proves the point of the memo by trying to silence any honest conversation on the subject:

                I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

                So criticising something without reading it first is a sane policy among humble folks without temptation. Let the leaders read it and decide whether it’s good or bad. They know best, anyway.

                Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

                You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s blue. It’s in the rule book - the one that only monsters could disagree with.

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                  The VP’s response is interesting in how it proves the point of the memo by trying to silence any honest conversation on the subject:

                  I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

                  So criticising something without reading it first is a sane policy among humble folks without temptation.

                  Your stated position on this specific section here seems ridiculous.

                  First, clearly the person read it, if they were responding to it. Second, it sounds like the document in question was already very widely disseminated inside the org, so no need to “provide a link to it”. Third, such statements are fairly commonly used as a literary device to express strong dislike for something. Fourth, it sounded like it might have been an official “company policy” response, and thus may have legal ramifications if not carefully worded to avoid even the appearance of endorsement.

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                      Derives authority from consensus? I see the opposite — she’s a VP validating the concerns of workers. Authority is flowing from her to those who agree.

                      Moreover, she narrows in precisely on the issue with his writing as someone who has clearly thought about this a lot more than he has. Statistics rarely justify prejudice, which is still all too common. In this case, they simply do not and in this light, his writing is extraordinarily careless in both its logical reasoning and the effect it has on his colleagues.

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                        Derives authority from consensus? I see the opposite — she’s a VP validating the concerns of workers.

                        Which workers? Those Twitter drama queens threatening to leave if the author of the memo is not fired on the spot?

                        Moreover, she narrows in precisely on the issue with his writing as someone who has clearly thought about this a lot more than he has.

                        That’s not what I read. She regurgitates the same old spiel about being inclusive, but only with those who drink the kool-aid - all for the common good, of course. I don’t think she specifically addresses a single issue raised by the memo.

                        Statistics rarely justify prejudice, which is still all too common.

                        Maybe we should discard statistics altogether. It’s obviously an invention of the patriarchy.

                        his writing is extraordinarily careless in both its logical reasoning and the effect it has on his colleagues

                        If you think this type of writing is scandalous and damaging for the impressionable youth employed by Google, wait ’till you read the heavy stuff: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments

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                        Seems to me that you have an axe to grind, or maybe a strong stake in this particular incident. I have neither, so instead I will disengage from the conversation. Life is too short to spend it arguing on the internet.

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                            if it weren’t for the need to inform me that you won the argument with an ad hominem and then leaving the debate with bells and whistles

                            Said the pot to the kettle.

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                      I agree with most of the contents of that memo and the only thing I’d add is that by requesting that a non-random sample should mirror the composition of the general population you are fighting against statistics and implicitly mathematics.

                      Oh, thanks goodness you know mathematics and can point out the logical failures in the emotional and non-rational opinions you don’t like. But what part of mathematics, exactly, tells us that Google should employ more men as programmers? Is it a result in algebraic geometry? Foundations? Does it follow from Shannon or theorems on the distribution of prime numbers? Please enlighten us.

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                        Please enlighten us.

                        Enlighten yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_bias

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                          Oh my. Your arguments are exactly the justification for suppressing this kind of stupidity in the workplace.

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                            Oh my. Your arguments are exactly the justification for suppressing this kind of stupidity in the workplace.

                            You didn’t read it, did you?

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                              I understand “sampling bias”.You don’t.

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                      Just to summarize: A presumably male google employee wrote a long complaint about Google’s efforts to hire and promote women engineers. His justifications are a mishmash of whining about “left wing ideology”, misrepresentations of scientific research, logical error, and self-pity. He was then defended as a brave truth teller who dared to question the official line.

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                        The original version of the manifesto, complete with hyperlinks and proper formatting: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

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                          A lot of young adults have a lot of ideas like this, and part of a liberal arts education is to air, challenge, and discuss them. Good on Google to provide a space for such education for those who did not get a chance to do it elsewhere.

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                            TL;DR of the manifesto: “While you were creating diversity initiatives, I studied The Blade”.

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                              Please try and post here productively and in good faith–cute pith that grossly misrepresents the source material wastes everyone’s time and lowers the quality of discourse.

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                                LOL

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                                The underpants gnome argument in favor of racial/gender privilege.