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Digging into my memories a bit, I wasn't working on the day this agreement was announced. But I did log into chat from time to time even when I should have been with my family.
What was surprising to me was the person letting us know internally seemed to think it was good news. Maybe not a direct quote, but something along the lines of "We can finally put this behind us."
Which is a little like awarding yourself a medal for accuracy after shooting yourself in the foot.
Also, not even close to an accurate understanding of the situation. The agreement wrapped up the legal matter, but that's it. The community had no stake in that except as it was a way to get the company to take notice.
By the way, the GoFundMe has been stripped of most of the details it once contained, such as messages of support. But it still shows the community raised $25,314 to "Stop Stack Overflow from Defaming its users."…
The company made one of its users a martyr (pro-CM tip: that's dangerous) and supposed the way to make people forget about her was to settle out of court. That settlement prevents either party from commenting, but it's toothless against third parties such as other users.
To be super clear, I don't know more about the agreement than what you can see publicly. Legally the two parties can't talk about it. That was the extent of what we were told about it. I don't know if money changed hands or anything else.
But what we can see publicly seems like a lopsided settlement. One side just wanted to talk about it and the other wants to move on. An agreement preventing either side from talking is pretty much a complete capitulation. This isn't designed to resolve differences but to end it.
And I think it would/could have ended it except the ex-moderator had become a symbol. The community sees what happened and infers this is what the company thinks of them: interchangeable, disposable, a nuance.
Look. This is absolutely not how people in the company thinks of people in the community. The people I worked closely with were greatly distressed by what happened last fall. Some of them left the company (in part) because of what the company did. This is a group failure.
"The absence of the initiative to explore other options of the debate led the participants to remain optimistic and rigid in their belief that the mission would succeed, being unknowingly biased in the group psychology of wishful thinking as well."…
The Bay of Pigs Invasion is the ur-example of groupthink, but that quote could just as easily be applied to Stack Overflow leadership. They trumpeted people who agreed (or appeared to agree) with the path they were following and dismissed opposition.
'The results of Turner's and Pratkanis' (1991) study on social identity maintenance perspective and groupthink conclude that groupthink can be viewed as a "collective effort directed at warding off potentially negative views of the group".'…
In this case, I believe the group protecting itself from negative views was not the company, but rather the small group of executives (mostly working from the New York office) who spent considerable time with each other. They, in effect, protected each other from criticism.
I wasn't part of that circle and I can't really be sure about my guess. For that group, the settlement could be seen as a success because a potential lawsuit threatened the image of the group.
I wouldn't harp on this except I keep seeing evidence that group is protecting its image at the expense of the community _and the company itself_. I'm not really sure how leadership can be held accountable any other way.
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