Valley Values

The Tech Pledge; Trump 'directly involved' in probe for NPS inauguration retweet culprit; and more.


  • Trump watch: Emails released by the National Park Service in response to a FOIA request confirm what everybody knew in January: that Trump was troubled and upset by how small his inauguration crowd was, and especially that a government Twitter account drew attention to it, Graham Kates reports for CBS. “Obviously, this has become a very sensitive issue, especially since the President has gotten directly involved and contacted Acting Director Mike Reynolds concerned about one of the images that was retweeted,” Tim Cash, Chief of Digital Strategy at the National Park Service, wrote in an email to Shaun Cavanaugh, the agency’s Chief Information Security Officer.

  • Clinton watch: That nasty woman will make any excuse for not winning the election! What is it now, that rural Americans don’t have access to high-speed, affordable broadband? That cell service in parts of flyover country is bad? That Clinton woman will reach for anything!! </sarcasm>

    See, it’s stuff like this that makes Clinton supporters hate the media, David Weigel writes for The Washington Post.

  • Silicon Valley Values: A number of tech leaders and workers, including Coworker.org co-founder Michelle Miller, Vote.org founder Debra Cleaver, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Matt Kirsiloff, collaboratively wrote a values statement that they’re calling The Tech Pledge, which you can read in its current draft here. They have invited interested parties to submit comments and suggestions for additional pledge ideas by email.

  • Life in Facebookistan: A report that Facebook rejects code from their female engineers significantly more often than their male engineers has made the company upset that the media is ruining the company’s “recruiting brand,” Julia Carrie Wong reports for The Guardian.

  • Wong’s Guardian colleague Olivia Solon also reports that teens are a bit skeeved out by reports that Facebook is monitoring their sense of self and mental health.

  • No more all-male panels: Mic’s Meltanie Ehrenkranz pulled together a list of 1,000 non-cisgender men who work in tech so that no conference organizer will ever again be able to claim “It’s … often much harder to identify the women who are doing interesting work than the men” or “Since there are fewer women in senior positions in public life, it becomes that much harder to find a woman who is free and available,” or “There was a lot of diversity you don’t recognize [including] a Canadian.”

  • Self-congratulatory reminder: Personal Democracy Forum made the GenderAvenger Hall of Fame for the third time last year, rocking a speaker and panelist lineup made up of 57 percent women.

  • If you do run across one of those unfortunate all-male panels in your conference-going, consider submitting it to the crowdsourced database, The Manel Log.

  • Media Matters: The nonprofit Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the company that operates the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, has just received a $21 million funding infusion, and could receive much more if a matching campaign goes well, Jeff Gammage reports for Philly.com.

  • Witch Hunts in the Time of Twitter: Jesse Singal exhaustively breaks down in a post for New York Magazine the mania that erupted after a feminist-philosophy journal called Hypatia published an article by a young professor of philosophy titled defending the idea of transracialism. Singal’s article is a point-by-point takedown of the complaints levied against the philosopher-author, Rebecca Tuvel, which Singal says are either completely made up, greatly exaggerated, or deliberately misconstrued, but nevertheless resulted in the journal apologizing for the article and refusing to stick up for the author, who has been on the receiving end of harassment and hate mail.

    The piece is also a commentary on the state of academia and intellectualism in an outrage economy fueled by social media. “This is not the sort of thing that usually happens in academia — it’s a really strange, disturbing instance of mass groupthink, perhaps fueled by the dynamics of online shaming and piling-on,” Singal writes. “This is a witch hunt. There has simply been an explosive amount of misinformation circulating online about what is and isn’t in Tuvel’s article, which few of her most vociferous critics appear to have even skimmed, based on their inability to accurately describe its contents.”

    “We should want academics to write about complicated, difficult, hot-button issues, including identity,” Singal concludes. “Online pile-ons cannot, however righteous they feel, dictate journals’ publication policies and how they treat their authors and articles. It’s really disturbing to watch this sort of thing unfold in real time—there’s such a stark disconnect between what Tuvel wrote and what she is purported to have written. This whole episode should worry anybody who cares about academia’s ability to engage in difficult issues at a time when outrage can spread faster than ever before.”

  • London Calling: London is looking for a Chief Digital Officer, and is accepting applications until May 23.

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