A Slap Across The Face

With Brendan resigning from Mozilla, like many others, I have mixed emotions. It's tough to have the past haunt and chase you but trying to keep strong at the same time is hard. As a volunteer moderating the Facebook page, it was evident that we had many users complaining and very little supporters. Now that Brendan has resigned, everybody has all of a sudden come out from a shadow. Unexpectedly to say at the least, is that we've got users telling us that we were no longer protecting Freedom of speech and that rights are taken away. Where have these people been hiding?

I guess it's okay to speak out about how we truly feel when somebody resigns over a controversial topic but not to speak out during the controversy? We should ALWAYS speak out. Freedom of Speech.

9 thoughts on “A Slap Across The Face

  1. Jeff Walden

    Well, before the resignation, what did the second round of people have to complain about? It was just a new CEO, nothing more. Now, afterward, there’s a colorable case that that onetime CEO was mistreated. They weren’t hiding, they just weren’t making their presence known, because what reason did they have to do so?

    This whole thing is a mess, and the only solution is a do-over. Which is of course impossible. So, bleah.

  2. Jeff Walden

    (I should clarify that by “colorable”, I mean in the sense of appearances making it a reasonable conjecture to a not-fully-informed person. Viewed more closely, the whole situation is so much murkier than that.)

  3. LorenzoC

    Really? Eich was forced to quit because people did not show up to defend him against the nazi pro-gays?

    First of all, the whole topic about gay marriage is an american issue but it is not so relevant or irrelevant anywhere else. For many reasons. People around the globe expect Mozilla to hire or fire employees for their skills not because of their beliefs about something they don’t care of.
    Secondly, it is obvious “common people” aren’t “militants” either “fanatics” like people who define themselves like “part of XYZ community”. Common people aren’t informed and they have real lives to deal with, with real issues and priorities.

    Now, apparently Mozilla is an organization that is modeled after the “XYZ communities” and their “primadonna” issues and not after “common people”. An organization where you can be “different” and have any “belief” ONLY when that goes along well with the said vocal “XYZ communities”, read as “politically correct”. It is an obvious case of elitism and thought police.

    I have been a very long time supporter but I am getting disappointed each day.

  4. Flore

    Those people were not “hiding”, they were just not shouting as loud as the other ones.
    We were more in the calm action, speaking within our communities, discussing, explaining. Because you did not see those discussions does not mean there were none.
    Many of us just felt that it was no real use to add to the loud and that a long-term action was better. And when Brendan resigned, we were just lightning struck. And so we started to speak up.
    But we were always here, no in plain sight, but certainly not hiding.

  5. Jrz

    In general administration teory, the founder represents the company vision and core values.
    Just searchching for company vision we can find many examples. (http://hbr.org/1996/09/building-your-companys-vision/ar/1) .
    So what is the analogy?
    Mozilla stuck it’s finger in one co-eye?

    And the people who attacked the CEO? What happens to them?
    That was the only way of solving a belief’s difference?
    Can they just enjoy the pleasure of victory despite don’t caring if this would damage Mozilla or not?
    When they will get fired? Oh! Yes. The can’t work because “anything” works both ways.

    Sad day to Brendan, for Mozilla, for Open Web.
    And for LGBT/QUILTBAG/Bay community that has to deal with accusation of “gay nazism” because of actions of some self entituled defensors.

  6. James Heaney

    Hi, Andrew. I’m one of the few other-siders who was following this from the start. I knew that the anti-Eich squad was winning the day in terms of volume, and knew that our side was not raising its voice in support of him. I speak as a member of the Firefox-using public; I think my total “contributions” (if you can call them that) to the project number in the single digits. Here’s what I saw and experienced:

    1. I had nothing very much to say. Addressing other commenters is pretty pointless; you have to talk straight to the company. And the company had done nothing wrong. I promoted Brendan’s CNET interview on my own timeline, because I thought it was excellent, but when I wrote something supportive of Eich on the Firefox wall, it felt inappropriate — like I was in some way legitimizing the completely illegitimate attacks on Eich, while sounding petulant and self-important — so I deleted it almost immediately.

    2. It’s very hard to get people energized in defense against something that hasn’t happened yet. Mostly people I knew wanted to wait and see what happened to Brendan before acting. They had no “colorable complaint” as someone said above.

    3. Conservatives have become extremely cynical about this sort of thing over the past 12 months. As soon as Eich’s statement of March 29 went up (where he apologized for “any pain caused”), the highly influential marriage traditionalist Robert George announced on his Facebook page that — based on the statement — it was clear Eich was going to be fired, that there was nothing we could do about it, and to begin boycotting FF immediately. I heard this sentiment a lot. The exclusion of the politically incorrect has taken on many of the qualities of an auto-da-fe in recent years, and the Firefox drama followed that script exactly. What was the point of taking action? The conclusion was foregone. Were they right, or was this a self-fulfilling prophecy? We’ll never know for sure… but, for all my efforts, I suspect they were right. Brendan’s fate was sealed as soon as it became clear he would not apologize for his political beliefs.

    4. Many people who supported Brendan simply weren’t aware of the controversy yet. Left-wing LGBTQ sources picked up this story much faster than the other side did, and gave it a lot of traction and momentum. OKCupid’s userbase is not a conservative one. Right-wing sources picked up the story only after reading about it on Slate, for the most part. So you wish they’d spoken up in support of Eich, but many of them didn’t even know what was happening to Eich. Is this partly conservatism’s fault for being disconnected from the tech community? Sure. Although since the tech community is now publicly persecuting very modest conservatives like Brendan, that’s really not very surprising.

    5. This is pretty much what happened in the Susan G. Komen and Phil Robertson controversies: a company faces concentrated criticism from an activist group that makes itself seem like a majority by being outspoken. The company changes its policy as a result (Komen suspended giving to Planned Parenthood; A&E suspended Robertson). Then the silent majority comes out of the woodwork and deals an unexpectedly large backlash. You’re seeing that now on Facebook.

    I sincerely do not believe the Mozilla Foundation will recover from this. Komen hasn’t. Duck Dynasty hasn’t. Mozilla has followed that script to the letter. And, after years supporting Firefox, I, too, have uninstalled and abandoned it. That’s an unmitigated tragedy… but how can I tell clients that Firefox is an open project everyone can be part of when it’s quite clear that *most* of my clients (who are conservatives) are excluded?

  7. Kees

    “I guess it’s okay to speak out about how we truly feel when somebody resigns over a controversial topic but not to speak out during the controversy? We should ALWAYS speak out. Freedom of Speech. ”

    The problem is that, until the resignation all you can say is that the group of people which claims to fight for tolerance (of their [LGBT] views/opinions) is very intolerant towards a person (or people) who do not agree with their opinion.

    The lesson learned from this should be: The most vocal group is not necessary the majority (as James Heaney already indicated), but at the same time people from that group can cause a lot of hurt…

    (This lesson should also be applied to a feature which might be (or become) controversial: Directory tiles with some of those being sponsored…)

  8. ThirteenthLetter

    Quoting your previous blog post:

    “Like I said earlier, I’m not here to take a side on this topic…”

    So since you brought up the question: where were you, Andrew? Doesn’t sound like you were standing up to the mob either.

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