Talk:Google's Ideological Echo Chamber

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Proposed addtion -- what the actually memo says[edit]

Proposed addition

Damore's memo argues two controversial points:

  • That the gender gap in technology (and Google in particular) is a result of biological differences, and not discrimination or injustice.[1]
  • That Google has political biases that produce an "ideological echo chamber" which silences dissenting views, such as the the one above.[1]

Damore argues that there are fewer women in technology not because of sexism but rather because women, on average, exhibit the following traits:

  • On average, they show a higher interest in people and men in things.[1]
  • They are, on average, more cooperative, less competitive.[1]
  • They are, on average, more prone to anxiety ("Neuroticism").[1]
  • On average, they look for more work-life balance.[1]

Damore uses the above diagram to stress that he is discussing population averages, not individuals, and that some women are very well suited to technology. Danmore states that he values diversity and inclusion, but that it is important to consider population level differences.[1]

Damore also suggests ways that a workplace can be made more suitable for people that exhibit those traits. For example, to introduce pair programming which is more collaborative, and to reduce stress generally. Damore also suggests that these traits also explain differences in other industries, and notes that men suffer 93% of all work-related deaths.[1]

Damore argues that these and other matters should be discussed openly at Google. He argues that moralizing issues punishes disagreement which is not beneficial to the company as a whole. He thinks that at Google, conservative people feel threatened if they express dissenting views.[1]

Damore also suggests that some more conservative viewpoints can be valuable to Google generally. For example, to avoid deprecating much loved services and to not ignore its core business.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cite error: The named reference DamoreMemo was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

This was missing from the original article, and a summary was needed. Note that the purpose of this section is not to comment on the content, but simply to summarize what Danmore actually said. I redid Danmore's diagram to avoid copyright nazis, if anyone knows how to contact him and get permission it would be good to publish his original diagrams instead. Tuntable (talk) 07:30, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

I have reverted this, as your summary did not appear neutral, and from past discussions on this talk page, it's not clear that such a summary could exist based on any one editor's assessment. The memo should be summarized according to how reliable, independent sources summarize it, not according to how some Wikipedia editors summarize it. Yes, this is a high standard. No, not every article about a written work need to be treated this way. This specific work is extremely controversial according to reliable sources, and has prompted a broad number of very different interpretations by those sources. Since we are not a platform for Damore to share his opinions, his charts are not appropriate, copyrighted or not. Grayfell (talk) 07:38, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
It is not the job of Wikipedia to plagiarize other people's summaries. If it was not an exact copy then you would argue that it is POV. The source for the summary is the memo itself, obviously. If you disagree with the summary, then improve it. But do not censor it.
What you are essentially saying is that no summary can be provided because it would have to be copied from another source. That is a very POV statement to make. The whole point about this issue is that many of the people that have strong feelings about it (either way) do not actually know what the memo said. That said, if you can find a decent NPOV summary and get permission to insert into the article verbatim I would not object.
I might add that there is nothing in the Wikipedia guidelines that your "High Bar" is required. No work in Wikipedia is based on "One Editors Assessment". What actually happens is that editors work to produce a summary that is actually pretty NPOV, just the facts. That is one of the best things that Wikipedia actually does. Tuntable (talk) 01:36, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
That's not what I'm saying. Your summary highlights some points as being central while downplaying others, which is a form of editorializing. The way these points are described also includes editorializing language. Wikipedia is based on reliable sources, but this memo is not a reliable source for statements of fact. Therefore, any contentious interpretation of an unreliable source, even if it's superficially unbiased, must be supported by reliable sources, otherwise it's WP:OR. Find a reliable source which summarizes his main points. Use this source to explain how these points are "controversial" and why. Use these sources to determine which parts he "stresses". Use reliable sources to choose "examples", etc. Grayfell (talk) 01:55, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Grayfell, it is very difficult to argue that the Memo is not a reliable source for what the Memo itsefl actually says. It is NOT the purpose of this section to argue what is good or not good about the Memo. Would you consider any of these to be a reliable NPOV source:

No, of course not. They are all arguing a point, which is exactly not the point of a summary. There is no reliable source that you would be satisfied with, and no need for one per Wikipedia guidelines. What you are asking for is actually censorship.

So, let us start the process properly. Please present ONE issue that is either

  • In the summary that is not in the Memo.
  • In the Memo but not in the summary but should be. One of the downplayed issues that you mentioned.
  • Expressed in a POV manner.

I realize that you may disagree with the content of the Memo but that is not relevant. (I do not particularly like it, but I do not like censorship.)Tuntable (talk) 02:40, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Speculating about my opinion is projection at best, but inappropriate, regardless. Labeling this "censorship" is inflammatory nonsense. If you want to discuss this, you'll have to approach this without this semi-personalized assumptions. Editorial restraint is not censorship, and Wikipedia is not obligated to include your proposed changes just because you personally vouch for how neutral they are. Do I need to explain why?
As I said, this memo is not a reliable source for statements of fact. Damore had no reputation at all prior to its publication, much less the reputation for fact-checking and accuracy which is required of sources. The memo is 10-page collection of Damore's opinions along with some citations. Some of the memo's sources may have been reliable (some were definitely not, and some were heinously misrepresented by Damore, which has already been discussed here to death) but the memo itself is only significant to the extent it is discussed by reliable sources. Wikipedia must, therefor, summarize it according to those sources, because those sources are the only reason the article exists. In some cases, a neutral summary of a work can be constructed based entirely on primary sources, but in this case, for reasons I'll get to, I think that's a such a difficult task that it might not be possible. Regardless, your summary did not get very close.
I want to emphasize that this is just one problem among many, but as an example: "Controversial" is a WP:LABEL. Even if it's accurate, it's still an emotionally loaded, subjective attribute which is not used by the source, and is not attributed to anyone. This is making a claim about the memo in Wikipedia's voice, which is editorializing. Editorializing is not acceptable, and in this case it editorializes in a way which primes the reader to make further assumptions later on in the article. There are several other large problems with your proposals, and a similar number of not-so-obvious problems.
The burden is on you to write a neutral summary, but this almost certainly will have to be based on reliable sources, because even reliable sources cannot seem to agree on what, exactly, he was trying to say. You are not a reliable source, you are a Wikipedia editor. When you make a claim about what he was attempting to emphasize and why, you are making a subjective choice about how the memo should be summarized. This is far, far more difficult than you're making it out to be.
As for the links, opinions published in reliable outlets, such as those you list, can be cited as primary sources of expert opinions with attribution, per Wikipedia:Identifying and using primary sources. They can also, cautiously, be used for factual statements in some cases, since these outlets engage in fact checking. If any of these sources are being used to present opinions as facts, fix the problem or point it out so we can discuss it. Grayfell (talk) 03:37, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Also, I've collapsed the copypaste of the proposed addition and merged it with this section. Otherwise I'm concerned this will mess up the talk page's automatic archiving. Grayfell (talk) 03:41, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for putting the proposed addition in a box, but you miss the point.
"As I said, this memo is not a reliable source for statements of fact."
It is not the purpose of the section to comment on whether Damore's claims are reasonable or not. Simply to state what his claims were. I should make that point explicit in the article. And if you will accept that those sources are reasonable I can add references, although I do not think they add much.
If someone wrote a notable document that the earth was flat or that the holocaust did not happen then it would be quite reasonable to summarize what it actually said even though we would both (probably) disagree with the content. Knowing the content provides insights into what other people think, which is important.
Every single sentence in Wikipedia has been written because it some editor's opinion that the sentence reflects the truth, and that it reflects relevant citations. These opinions are then reviewed and argued about (ad nauseam). The OR is to prevent wild new theories polluting the space, not to prevent people writing anything at all.
Anyway, you have failed to produce ONE example of why the content itself is not OK other than commenting on the process. Therefore I assume you have no difficulty with the content itself. Tuntable (talk) 00:43, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I do have a problem with the content. I specifically gave "ONE example" of a problem I had, and emphasized that it was only one of many. The burden is on you to achieve consensus for the changes you want to make.
Wikipedia has at least a couple articles on books about Holocaust denial, but those articles generally do not accept the author's perspective beyond what is necessary to supplement reliable sources. Those with more lengthy summaries, such as Hitler's War, cite multiple independent sources for different points. Your proposal fails to accomplish this on both counts. Damore's exact position is controversial. I am NOT just saying that his opinions are controversial, I am saying the controversy is over what he meant. Reliable sources differ on which parts are central, which parts are deflection, and which parts are filler. (This probably says something about his writing, but we both agree that's subjective.) Regardless, we cannot summarize something we don't understand, and we (Wikipedia editors) don't understand what he meant. You may understand what he meant, and I sure think I do also, but if we don't agree, than we need sources to solve the problem.
Making every single sentence on Wikipedia into an "opinion" misrepresents what "opinion" means here. I am disputing that your summary is an improvement to the article, for many reasons. I have also explained, several times now, that I don't think that any summary is going to meet WP:NPOV unless it is supported by reliable, independent sources. Find what sources are saying about the memo, and write a summary accordingly. Grayfell (talk) 04:50, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
OK, so maybe I am stupid, but I could not see the "ONE Example" that you mention. Could you please restate it more clearly. I am not talking about the process, or references, but actual content. I actually do not think that there is much disagreement about what he meant, just a lot of disagreement about whether it is valid, and more importantly whether it was actually misogamistic. But if I am wrong, then there must be at least one concrete point. So let's start there. Tuntable (talk) 00:45, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
The paragraph above which starts "I want to emphasize that this is just one problem among many..." I'll explain more once you've read that, if I really need to.
I don't understand what you mean by "one concrete point". There are many problems here, and resolving one isn't going to make any others go away, but maybe you mean something else?
It would be nice to try and separate the statements from their accuracy, but this is never going to work. Damore (much to his apparent chagrin) didn't get to decide the terms of the debate he started. Few authors do. Wired sums this point up pretty well: The problem is, the science in Damore’s memo is still very much in play, and his analysis of its implications is at best politically naive and at worst dangerous. The memo is a species of discourse peculiar to politically polarized times: cherry-picking scientific evidence to support a preexisting point of view. It’s an exercise not in rational argument but in rhetorical point scoring. And a careful walk through the science proves it.[1]
To put it another way, if we attempted to summarize Damore's position without any outside context, we would still have to avoid naively accepting his underlying claims. This would be begging the question. The problem, as the Wired source points out, is that even the experts cited by Damore don't accept all of those claims. If we accepted his claims about innate biological differences in order to summarize his conclusions, we've made a big mistake. The problem is not just his conclusions, it's how he gets there, or perhaps how he fails to get there.
When you (or any Wikipedia editor) tries to summarize this memo, there has to be choices made, and in this case, those choices assumed that he was making a specific, coherent point. Sources do not agree on this. Your summary also highlighted some things he said while ignoring others. It listed four "feminine" traits while Damore listed five, even though he didn't explain the fifth very clearly. Your summary left out the part where he compared boilerplate diversity initiatives to "Maxist intellectuals" waging warfare on "gender and race politics". Where was the three paragraphs about "leftists" and how some men are labeled "misogynists and whiners"? Why did you include the passing comment about 93% of all work-related deaths, even though that wasn't even about Google?
There is so much more I could say on this, but this is already way, way too long. Just find sources and go from there. Grayfell (talk) 03:41, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

From what I can see, the part about 93% of workplace deaths was highlighted within the original memo. -GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:07, 18 June 2018 (UTC) GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:07, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Greyfell, You made a good point about re-reading your earlier paragraph, in which you speak about Wikipdea Voice. Consider the following

  • Hitler said the Jews are degenerate.
  • The Jews are degenerate.

The first statement would be in Hitler's voice, and not controversial. The second would be in Wikipedia's voice. I think we would both agree with the first and disagree with the second. My proposal had "Damore Said" six times, but maybe that is not enough.

While there is plenty of controversy about whether Damore is actually correct, I do not think that there is actually much controversy about what he actually said.

The reason that I ask for ONE thing is that then we can move forward one at a time. When I have time I will

  • Add some other references.
  • Add an even stronger statement at the beginning about the content being disputed.
  • Mention the points you raised about "Maxist intellectuals" and "misogynists and whiners".

I would appreciate other Editors input into this.Tuntable (talk) 07:24, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

Okay, I will just re-emphasize the importance of third-party sources. The memo is defined by its controversy, which means Wikipedia editors like us are probably not going to agree on which parts are important and which are not. One of the specific problems with this memo is that it's written in a way that suggests Damore is trying to be clear and straightforward, when he's leaving a lot unspoken or implied (while I recognize this because it's also a flaw in my own writing, I think reliable sources support this interpretation, as well). Without a lot of caution, we risk drifting towards either giving him the benefit of the doubt above and beyond his intentions, or assuming the worst and using the most damning interpretation possible. Neither is appropriate, of course.
My suggestions is this: pretend like the memo is a lost work that has to be reconstructed from other sources. Find reliable sources, figure out what they say, and only then, after an outline is built from those sources, go back and check it against the memo itself. Perhaps this would be too tedious or silly, but the hopefully the suggestion helps explain what I mean. Grayfell (talk) 07:51, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
Tuntable (talk) I agree with your perspective. This article is unbalanced and not as helpful as it might be because it does not contain enough information about the memo including its sources. Keith Johnston (talk) 11:41, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
This article is clearly weaker than it should be because it never explains what Damore actually says. The proposed summary would obviously improve things. If it is possible to do better than the proposed summary, then by all means lets do so. But for now, lets make this article as good as it can be. The absence of universal agreement is not a reason to leave things as they are. (talk) 01:17, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
I also want to disagree with Grayfell's comments. A summary absolutely should represent what is actually written, not what is implied. That is what readers expect. This article has numerous sections in which implications can be (and are) discussed. It is entirely inappropriate to have things appear in the summary of a written document that never appear in the actual document (nor is it appropriate for us to be discussing the author's intent in the summary). (talk) 01:17, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
That's not what I intended to say, and I don't entirely disagree with you, but the underlying issue remains. The problem is this: who gets to write the summary? It is not up to me, and it is not up to you, and as we know from past history, editors are not going to agree on which parts are important and which are not. Not every detail of this ten-page memo belongs here, for many reasons. Readers can read the memo themselves if they want to, but this article should summarizing the topic based on reliable sources. Not the memo, but the topic. As I said, we could attempt to summarize the memo based on the memo itself, but this isn't easy. In fact, it's extremely difficult. No work can be fairly summarized in isolation. That's not a neutral approach, because context matters a great deal. If minor detail X is left out of the summary, that means that someone can come along and claim the article is biased because X leads to Y, which implies Z, and Z is discussed by sources A, B, and C. Instead of relying on editors to resolve this, we need to work backwards from sources. It is not possible for us, as editors, to completely divorce the memo from the author's intent, at least not in a summary format. If reliable sources summarize the memo, let's discuss how they do it, so we can use that to fix the problem. Grayfell (talk) 01:40, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Requested move 13 July 2018[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move the article to any particular title at this time, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 17:02, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

Google's Ideological Echo ChamberGoogle memo – My title is not ambiguous and is neutral, and unlike the status quo, the memo is commonly referred to as the Google memo in reliable sources. The memo is only referred to by its title when the source wants to state the actual title of the memo, which is not often. Usually a manifesto has "manifesto" in the title so a reader can guess that it is a manifesto from its title, but that's not the case here. wumbolo ^^^ 12:36, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

  • Oppose Title is overly vague for the uninitiated. Suggest alternate move to Google's Ideological Echo Chamber memo.ZXCVBNM (TALK) 21:57, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose A move is reasonable, but this title is meaningless. I could vote for something like "2017 Google gender controversy" however.GPRamirez5 (talk) 23:08, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose; "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" is the actual title of the work. We do no censor titles of works, even if some will be offended by them. "Google memo" is temporarily mostly referring to this memo, but if you search "Google memo" and exclude various keywords like "diversity", "Damore", and "ideological" you rapidly find news coverage of other Google memos, especially the public one on AI ethics: [2], [3], and other internal Google memos [4]. You also find results for other entities' memos in regard to Google [5], [6], [7].  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:10, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Both: From a lexicographic point of view, Google's Ideological Echo Chamber is the correct title of the work, but people who search the memo will use the term Google memo. This can be, and has already been, solved with a redirect page. I consider this solution satisfactory for both use cases. — Tatzelbrumm (talk) 13:47, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

"Cultural commentary" section is one-sided[edit]

This section covers nothing but anti-Damore public response. It's pretty clear that not all social reaction was negative, however, so both sides (and in the middle?) should be covered here. See the "On the science" section for how to approach this in the WP:NPOV way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:43, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

On the science section is ridiculous[edit]

It includes opinions of journalists(WTH) and Women Studies "scientists". If you are gonna pretend that his claims are scientifically controversial at least find some real scientist that disagree with Damore. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

legal filing redactions require & new google rules[edit]

  5. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2603:3024:200:300:C40E:1E9A:540B:74D9 (talk) 05:26, 24 July 2018 (UTC)